Minuet and Polka
Arranged for wind octet by Tony Turrill
Click here for some excerpts
here for the complete performance
Minuet & Trio
Polka “Peasants Dancing”
Suk was born in Krecovice, Czechoslovakia, in 1874, the son of the village organist and schoolmaster. He studied the violin and composition at Prague Conservatory from 1885 to 1892, where he became the favourite pupil and family friend of Antonin Dvorak, soon falling in love with fourteen year old Otilka, Dvorak’s beautiful daughter. It was at the time of the family’s stay in America and Suk’s consequent separation from Otilka that Dvorak set his pupil the task of composing something in the major key. He was tasked to produce something generally more optimistic – until then Suk frequently had set his somber works in the minor. The string serenade was the result. The minuet and trio made a very suitable introduction for a wind octet but we decided to look elsewhere for a concluding movement.
Suk never wrote an opera but the next best thing was his incidental music for a play based on a Slav fairy tale. Recognizing that it was unlikely that the play would be given repeat performances, Suk salvaged most of his music by producing a four movement orchestral suite, Pohadka. Czech compositions often include a session of “folk music” usually led by the clarinets, a common Czech folk instrument (viz. Smetanas’s Ma Vlast and the trio in Dvorak’s Wind Serenade). The second movement of Pohadka is Suk’s nod to this tradition and he labels it as such “Peasant’s Dancing” it is a polka and it is definitely the right candidate for the final movement of this arrangement.
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