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Josef Suk

Posted by on July 9, 2011. one comment

There are certain musical experiences that stay with you forever. I’ve written about a few of my own before (e.g. my first experience listening to Alicia de Larrocha.) When I first started writing this blog, I wanted it to be an outlet for sharing the things I find fascinating and incredible about music — listening to music, playing music, teaching music, living life as a musician. One of my first posts on this blog, “Brahms as it should be played”, was about a recording that I adore: the Brahms Piano Trios with Janos Starker, Julius Katchen, and Josef Suk.

In fact, to say that I adore this recording actually falls short of what I mean; listening to this CD has become something of a physical need. Every few weeks, I find myself needing to listen to it. Every time I listen to these incredible musicians play, I find something new that I love about their playing. Even though I’ve literally listened to this recording hundreds of times, just yesterday I fell in love with a peculiar change in bowing when Starker repeats the first part of the B major Trio; last week I fell in love with the way Josef Suk changes colors constantly in the development of the first movement of the C major Trio, making it seem as if there were a viola playing along with them; just this morning, there was a little glissando in the Scherzo for the second Trio that just blew my mind… The people around me know that I can go on for hours about the things I love in this recording.

A few hours ago I read that Josef Suk recently passed away. I was very sad to get these news. To me, he is the violinist. The way this amazing musician played the violin is for me the ideal; he played the violin as it was meant to be played: warm, emotional, extremely rich in color — like a singer, but so much more songful than any singer could ever hope to be. Josef Suk’s excellent recordings of Dvorak, Martinu, and especially this recording of the Brahms Trios, made me fall in love with chamber music and with a particular way of playing that is at the core of what I think music should be.

Rest in peace, Josef Suk. I never got to meet the man, or listen to him live. However, every few days I listen to his playing and find something new to love. I’m sure that will still be the case for a long time to come.

This is the third time I’ve linked this video since I started writing this blog. I’m sure it won’t be the last: