Released date: 17th April 2015

Album detail
Catalogue number: SU 4182-2

The renowned violinist Josef Špaček has recorded with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra a live album for Supraphon (SU 4182–2) featuring three major Czech violin pieces dating from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries: Antonín Dvořák’s famed Violin Concerto in A minor, Josef Suk’s Fantasy in G minor and Leoš Janáček’s concerto Pilgrimage of the Soul. In addition to the soloist, the project’s quality is guaranteed by the participation of Jiří Bělohlávek, the chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. Dvořák’s opus was recorded at the opening concert of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival in September 2014, the Suk and Janáček pieces within the Czech Philharmonic’s sub­scription concert series last October. The Supraphon album will be released on CD and available for download on 17th April 2015. Here you can watch short album teaser featuring Josef Špaček as well as Jiří Bělohlávek:

The most recent discs the Czech Philharmonic made for the Supraphon label were six years ago, when under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras they completed the cycle of Dvořák’s symphonic poems and recorded Bohuslav Martinů’s Fan­taisies symphoniques under Jiří Bělohlávek. The former received the prestigious Gramophone Award and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten­kritik, while the latter was nominated for the Gramophone Awards.


It took a long time until the concerto that today forms part of the repertoire of every world-renowned violinist was given its definitive form. The composer subjected it to several revisions so as to gain the favour of the greatest 19th-century German virtuoso, Joseph Joachim, who ultimately did not premiere it on stage. The exquisite concerto was first performed in public in 1883 by František Ondříček, who soon presented it in Vienna and London to great acclaim.


The violin Fantasy of Josef Suk, Dvořák’s son-in-law, is an internally diverse work yet one forming a cogent musical whole. The piece marked the beginning of the composer’s new, more profound creative phase.


Leoš Janáček intended to write a violin concerto, for which he even already had a title – Pilgrimage of the Soul – but ultimately changed his mind and applied part of the musical material he had gathered for it in his final opera, From the House of the Dead. In 1988, the concerto was pieced together by Leoš Faltus and Miloš Štědroň on the basis of the preserved sketches. The ideas making up the Violin Concerto are typical of Janáček: sharp-cut, with a great charge and poignancy.

The three seminal pieces of Czech violin music are joined together by the new Supraphon recording and its soloist. Twenty-eight-year-old Josef Špaček, a laureate of the closely observed Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition, recorded the concertos with the Czech Philharmonic, whose concert master he has been for five years, live in September and October 2014, under the baton of the orchestra’s chief conductor, Jiří Bělohlávek.

Music by three icons of Czech music, as performed by the leading Czech orchestra and conductor, and one of the world’s most exciting young violinists.

Linked video