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MET CONCERT #3

SERENADE IN E-FLAT MAJOR, OP. 6
SUK, JOSEF (1874-1935)
  1. Andante con moto
  2. Allegro m non troppo e grazioso
  3. Adagio
  4. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo presto

Josef Suk was an accomplished violinist who studied at the Prague Conservatory, who performed most notably in the Bohemian String Quartet, and returned to become a violin professor at the Prague Conservatory. It was this familiarity with string instruments that equipped him with the skills to compose a String Serenade.

In the early years following his graduation as a student from the Prague Conservatory, Suk caught the attention of Brahms and Dvorak with his Serenade in E-flatMajor, who introduced him to their publisher, Simrock, who would print this composition in 1896, four years after it was composed.

With encouragement from Dvorak to write ‘something cheerful for a change’, this Serenade is more cheerful than his previous works, but by no means is it whimsical or lacking in emotion. The first movement is a fluid Andante con moto, which appears with a beautiful, flowing violin melody. The pace picks in the second movement, and the most memorable movement is the Adagio, third movement. The beautiful opening cello melody develops a rich emotional intensity that endears this work to string orchestras, before recollection of the original theme in the final movement and a cheerful conclusion that his composition teacher asked for.