Thank you to those who donated to Piano Society in 2017.

Suk - About Friendship, Op.36

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    The Czech composer Josef Suk (1874-1935) is best known for his orchestral works, and for being Antonin Dvorak's son-in-law. Not only did Suk marry Dvorak's daughter Otilie (affectionately known as Otilka), he also shared Dvorak's passion for trains. In 1904-05 Suk suffered a terrible blow when, in a span of 14 months, both Dvorak and Otilie died. His way of dealing with his grief and loss was to create his magnum opus, the dark and magnificent Asrael symphony.

    Suk's piano works are not yet sufficiently recognized for what they are. When I first heard this wonderful piece "About Friendship" (also known as just " Friendship"), composed in 1920, it was instant love. I just had to play it and it took first priority over everything else I was practicing. One of the most beautiful piano pieces I know, with full-blooded and tender writing, it seems to me to do full justice to its title, telling the story of a long and deep friendship, some quarreling along the way, and a most affecting reconciliation. I hope some of you out there will get to love this piece, and Suk's music in general) as much as I do.

    Audio: Suk - About Friendship, Op.36 (4:18)
    Video: https://youtu.be/cKhma8doqis

    The audio track is he same as that of the video. It is unedited.
     
  2. MarkieUK

    MarkieUK Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    Chester
    Last Name:
    Hopwood
    First Name:
    Mark
    This is a really interesting piece. I seem to like this kind of late-Romantic music more than earlier Romantic pieces. You have a real affinity for this style. I had a quick look at the score and noticed it's in G flat major but with a lot of accidentals, so I wonder how many harmonic shifts are in it.

    I think you've done a good job here. The only criticism would be that sometimes perhaps you could be a little more tender, particularly in the dolcissimo and pp sections. Try creating a different tone colour? I know it's very difficult to do this, but I think it would sound very effective.
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Thanks Mark, glad you like it. I seem to gravitate more towards late romantic repertoire too. It's generally more interesting and personal than early/middle romantic, and Suk in particular strikes a chord with me. I wish I could have known him. Even though there is one photograph where he rather looks like a fatter version of Hitler :shock:
    You are right, I did not get the pianissimo's and dolce's out as well as I had wanted. This is totally my grand to blame, it's not sufficiently responsive. When I play the Feurich grand in my church I don't have that problem and I can whisper with the best. I should make a recording there one day.
     
  4. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    392
    Likes Received:
    4
    Occupation:
    Special Ed/Music Teacher NYC (Retired)
    Location:
    New York City
    Home Page:
    Last Name:
    Rochelle
    First Name:
    Kaila
    Hi Chris,

    This is really a rich piano piece and interpretation.

    I do not see the dramatic moments as quarreling as much as someone having a problem and the other person worrying.
    Your chordal playing keeps going forward while at the same time standing still in the harmonic richness.

    Thank you so much for the background information about Suk as well. This was a wonderful introduction to such a fine composer.

    Best,
    Kaila
     
  5. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Technical Editor
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    Last Name:
    Renouf
    First Name:
    Joe
    Chris,

    A very pleasant tune (I'd heard of but never actually listened to this composer). Made me feel like I was sitting in a night club sipping on a martini: for me, it was sort of a salon light-jazzy feel, coupled with some classical moderne influences. And yes, I thought I could hear a bit of Dvorak in there too.

    While I didn't follow along with score, to my ears it sounded quite expressively played with good control over nuances and flexible rhythm. To my ears, your piano could be construed as rather thin-sounding and tinny, but then you may remember how I feel about pianos, which is to say it's all about the pianist -- more specifically, I don't give a crap as long as all the notes work :D

    Joe
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Thanks Kaila. Yes, rich is how I feel Suk's music to be. By comparison, most of Dvorak's piano work sounds rather bland.

    Quite possibly. In any case, there is some turbulence, and it is resolved in the most beautiful and consoling manner. I find that an absolutely magic moment.

    Interesting, it never occurred to me to find this music salon-like or jazzy.

    Thanks, I think it came out well despite some tiny flaws and (as usual) sub-optimal dynamics. But thin-sounding and tinny ? Get those ears checked :p I believe my Gaveau to have a rich and warm sound (admittedly, more so in the bass than the treble). Anyway, you are right that one should most of all listen to the music (not even the pianist) instead of the sound. Too many people are obsessed with sound. It amuses as well as disgusts me how some people have the most expensive and exclusive audio gear and all they do is play insignificant crap music.
     
  7. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Last Name:
    Parrow
    First Name:
    Joachim
    I enjoyed it though it did not make a particularly deep impression. Your playing is really good here, it is clear you care for it and bring out the most of it.

    Joachim
     
  8. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Technical Editor
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    Last Name:
    Renouf
    First Name:
    Joe
    Well, if that were true, then we wouldn't need interpreters.
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Well, you wouldn't be Joe if you did not have a point. Still, I consider the music more important than the pianist.
     
  10. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Technical Editor
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    Last Name:
    Renouf
    First Name:
    Joe
    :lol: Well, you wouldn't be Chris if you did not have a good comeback. Still, why not consider the music and the pianist as equally important, a sort of partnership if you will?
     
  11. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Chris,

    This was a first hearing for me, but I really enjoyed hearing this piece. I especially liked the dissonances which really gave this piece a late romantic sound. The colors change quite frequently which further perks up the ears. I think this music merited all the work and attention you gave to it. And the Gaveau also did its part well. Altogether, a very nice recording!

    David
     
  12. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Software Developer
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Last Name:
    Kautsch
    First Name:
    Stewart
    Nice job, and I like this at least as much as the other Suk pieces.

    I assume that the opus 36 that's on the site is this recording, but Suk's picture does not appear on the front page. Is this automatic, or do you or Monica have to run a script for that?
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Thanks David, I thought you'd like this one. It has that late romantic opulence that appeals to you.
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Thanks Stu, and good you spotted that. Yes here is a clever script (actually a C program) in action, but somehow I forgot to tell it the page ID for the Suk page. Should have noticed that earlier when I submitted by first Suk cycle. It's fixed now.
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,712
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    That is a very nice piece! And well-played! I don't think I've ever heard any Suk before. I liked the soft outer parts. You're right, he looks a little like a fat Hitler.
     
  16. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Only on that one picture though. I think he must have been a gentle man despite his somewhat forbidding appearance.
    Thanks for the feedback. Actually I already posted some Suk pieces back in 2012.
     

Share This Page