Romance from Pohadka
arranged by Tony Turrill for viola and wind decette
Solo Viola and 2Fl./2Ob./2Cl../2Bsn./2Hn.
click here for some excerpts
here for a complete performance
Suk was born in Krecovice, Czechoslovakia, in 1874, the son of the village schoolmaster and organist. He studied the violin and composition at Prague Conservatory from 1885 to 1892, where he became the favourite pupil, a family friend and later son-in-law of Antonin Dvorak
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. The work is a story of requited love and as its first performance dates from the same period, its generally sunny ambience reflects the happy year of the wedding of Suk and Otilka, Dvorak daughter. The violin melody is the motto theme which is assigned to Prince Raduz and Pricess Mahulena, the two lovers of the fairy story (Ein maerchen), Suk labels the movement “Lovely lady with the violin”. As in many fairy stories, when Raduz’s father the benevolent King dies, the lovers fall foul of the wicked Queen Mother Mahulena who turns her daughter into a poplar tree and destroys Raduz’ memory. Love finally overcomes the spell, Raduz chops down the tree and releases the princess and the melody of the first movement returns. As well as teaching and composing, Suk was a violinist and played second violin in the renowned Ceske String quartet which dated from his student days. The first movement of the suite is basically a romance written for him to perform, for Violin and Orchestra.
In this arrangement, much of the score has been left unchanged, the solo violin part is exactly as written by Suk except it has been reset from violin to viola firstly because this seemed to offer a better balance with the resulting register of the wind instruments and secondly simply because the arranger loved hearing a viola play such a romantic melody and finally most importantly so did his late wife. Judge for yourself, it only takes a little over 9 minutes
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