Recording of the Month, MusicWeb International (2015)
5 diapasons, Diapason (2015)
Antonín Dvořák - Violin concerto in A minor, Op. 53, Josef Suk - Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra in G minor, Op. 24, Leoš Janáček - Violin concerto "The Wandering of a Little Soul"
Josef Špaček - violin, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Jiří Bělohlávek
Dvořák - Suk - Janáček. Three very different composers with three different stories, and yet there is a great closeness and spiritual kinship between them. Dvořák's op. 53 is now part of the repertoire of all the world's great violinists, however even that greatest of virtuosi, Joseph Joachim - the man to whom Dvořák dedicated the work - helped search for and was closely involved in shaping the concerto's final form. Suk's Fantasy in G minor is, internally, a highly diverse work, a kind of virtuoso, rhapsodic symphonic poem for violin that stands on the threshold of a new and momentous creative period in the composer's work. And what of Janáček: he already had a name for his intended violin concerto, "The Wandering of a Little Soul", but in the end he used the material he had collected in his final opera "From the House of the Dead". The material from which the concerto was later reconstructed is typical Janáček: sharply defined, with great energy and urgency. The 28-year old violinist Josef Špaček, a laureate of the keenly watched Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, recorded these concerts live with "his" Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under it's principal conductor Jiří Bělohlávek.
This stellar constellation of musicians would surely have appealed to the composer himself.
Dvořák - Suk - Janáček - Czech Philharmonic Orchestra - Bělohlávek - Špaček: names that need no further introduction.
“This is a boldly imaginative gathering of Czech works for solo violin and orchestra…Josef Špaček, with Jiří Bělohlávek's wonderfully attentive orchestral accompaniment, produces a near-ideal interpretation [of the Suk]…many will warm to Špaček's soft-grained tone, especially in the slow movement [of the Dvorak].“ BBC Music Magazine, September 2015
“The young Joseph Špaček reminded me more both of his great forebear Josef Suk and, at times of David Oistrakh. It's mostly to do with the firm cut of his bowing, the clarity of his articulation and the sureness of his rhythmic attack. His tone is sweetly expressive but he varies it according to the dictates of the passing musical phrase.“ Gramophone, July 2015
“If anything Josef Špaček, the young concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic, makes an even more powerful impression than his illustrious predecessor [Josef Suk]. His is a full-blooded performance with the Czech Philharmonic under its music director with him all the way…[this] young violinist has embarked on what is a very promising career.“ MusicWeb International, June 2015
“The violinist’s individual, deeply considered and virtuosic account of Dvorak’s solo part is the highlight of this keenly conceived programme. He is extrovert in the dancing rhythms of the outer Allegros and spellbindingly inward in the serene Adagio. In this repertoire, Spacek is second to none today.“ The Sunday Times, 26th April 2015
“[The Janáček] is given a superb, heart-rending performance here by Josef Špaček backed by the deep understanding that Jiří Bělohlávek brings especially to the music of his native country. That is equally true of the Dvořák Concerto…Špaček is a compelling protagonist here, with a richness and piquancy of timbre that contributes to an interpretation not merely of virtuosity and flair but also of expressiveness.“ The Daily Telegraph, 26th April 2015