What kind of music could be better suited for the Berliner Philharmoniker’s legendary annual Waldbühne concert than Czech music? It’s always passionate and full of verve and sure to lift everyone’s spirits. Only very rarely does a young talent ascend to ‘world stardom’, but one of the few who can be considered an international superstar while still belonging to the new generation of conductors is Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He presents the much-loved Vlatava (Moldau) as well as Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony and Violin Concerto with the wonderful Lisa Batiashvili on the violin.
The steady increase in recordings of his music has now established Suk as one of the great musical poets of the early 20th century. Too much is made of his affinities with his teacher and father-in-law, Dvorák; for his own part, Dvorák never imposed his personality on his pupils and Suk's mature music owes him little more than a respect for craft and an extraordinarily well developed ear for orchestral colour. His affinities in the five-movement A Summer's Tale, completed in 1909 – a magnificent successor to his profound Asrael Symphony – reflect Debussy and parallel the music of his friend Sibelius and Holst, but underpinning the musical language is a profound originality energising both form and timbre.
Mackerras's recording joins a select band: Šejna's vintage performance on Supraphon and Pešek's inspired rendition with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; his is an equal to them both and the Czech Philharmonic's playing is both aspiring and inspiring.