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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Good, very musical performances, with fine sound to boot. The Slovak Orchestra are not the equal of the Czech Philharmonic but they produce eminently decent results. This is lovely music and the performances are enjoyable and well worth the modest outlay.



Hi-Fi News & Record Review, June 2000

"Suk's inspired genius for orchestral polyphony is finely demonstrated in the series of works that span 1905-32. The Asrael Symphon commemorates the death of his wife Otylka and her father Dvorak - 'my beloved teacher'. A Summer's Tale, an episodic work which Mahler praised, and the highly concentrated Ripening, revolve around different stages of man's maturity combined with the forces of nature. Three years before his own demise, Epilogue embrace universal love. In 40 years, only five recordings of A Summer Tale (1970-9) have appeared, but I still haven't caught up with any live performance, let alone had sight of the full score!"



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, February 2000

This bargain price Naxos disc contains a unique, though perfectly natural, coupling: tales of two seasons contrasted with each other.

In A Summer's Tale shadows chase across the moon. If you are expecting a sunny and happy summer fields essay you are in for a surprise. This is quite turbulent music replete with storms: an extension of the drama of the Asrael symphony - a work which preceded it. Much of the writing has a Straussian plethora of detail with darkling passages that could easily have strode out from the pages of Mahler 7. Bax's Garden of Fand is pre-echoed in the first movement (2.35).

This is overall a work of sumptuous exploration and the Slovak players handle it all with aplomb. Time after time shadowy disquieting figures now well known to us from Asrael wheel across the summer skies. The sprawling work is less about contentment on a summer hillside amongst the hay than the awareness that Autumn comes and behind Autumn, Winter.

There are two full price versions (Supraphon and Virgin) of A Summer's Tale both conducted by Libor Pesek. There is no competition at bargain price and there is no other similarly coupled CD at any price. In fact the final work: the Shakespeare-based A Winter's Tale is not available in any other recording and is almost certain to be a recording premiere. A snowy chill ruffles the pages of this atmospheric work which sometimes reeks, most agreeably, of Brahms, occasionally Wagner and more often of Smetana (Ma Vlast) and Dvorák (Symphonies 7 and 8).

Decent notes by the indefatigable Keith Anderson.

This disc very well worth adding to your collection; especially at such a modest price.






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7:57:49 AM, 26 December 2014
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