Suk: Spring Impressions; Summer Impressions; Piano Pieces, Op. 7; Moods, Op. 10

Jonathan Plowright (Hyperion)

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Suk Spring Impressions; Summer Impressions; Piano Pieces, Op. 7; Moods, Op. 10
Jonathan Plowright (piano)
Hyperion CDA68198 76:38 mins

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As the titles suggest, Spring and Summer Impressions by Joseph Suk (1874-1935) evoke light evenings, warm breezes and romantic inclinations. It seemed fitting, then, to listen to this latest album by pianist Jonathan Plowright over a pleasantly hot and sticky weekend, Pimms in hand. The nostalgic fatigue felt in ‘Awaiting’ and ‘Longing’ is offset by the lively ‘Children at play’, which shows Suk, a one-time student of Dvořák, at his most original.

Plowright is used to handling weightier tomes, having recently released the fifth instalment of his on-going Brahms solo works series (also Hyperion), but he is a master of melodies, and these character pieces easily outshine the Pimms. If events had turned out differently, we may have been able to enjoy Suk’s interpretation of Autumn and Winter too, as he once expressed a desire to compose collections for all seasons. Instead, we have a more sombre group of short works and the Moods cycle. These are reflective, with moments of poignancy. The concluding ‘Spring idyll’ takes us back to the beginning with a fleet-fingered vivace that recalls the humour of the opening works.

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Claire Jackson