Josef Suk (4 January 1874 – 29 May 1935) was a Czech composer and violinist. He studied under Antonín Dvořák, whose daughter he married.
Fantastické Scherzo, Op. 25 (1902-03)
1. Allegro vivace
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Mackerras
Description by Joseph Stevenson [-]
From the evidence of the Fantastic Scherzo, Josef Suk would seem to have been destined to follow an artistic path much like that of his father-in-law and teacher, Antonín Dvorák. It is a 15-minute work, brilliantly scored for full Romantic orchestra. Its style is not that close to that of Dvorák. Suk's harmonic language is a little more modern, something like that of the pre-Impressionist French composers such as Chabrier and Fauré. Nor was Suk as interested in evoking Czech musical folklore in his music. The work is in the typical scherzo rhythm of dotted triple-time groups, rather close in spirit to Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice. It has less of the grotesquerie, mostly being good-spirited. The closest thing to it in mood among Dvorák's works is the Carnival Overture, though in sound and technique it is more like the late Dvorák tone poems such as The Wood Dove. There are, indeed, times when the Suk work picks up something of the dark-edged mood of those Dvorák fantasies. But on the whole it is a beautifully scored, light-hearted and untroubled look at a fairy-like world.
It is also uncharacteristic of the direction Suk's work would take (and thus unlike any later works of Suk's the reader might know). The year after it was composed, Dvorák died, and soon after that Suk's own wife (Dvorák's daughter) died. The grief and the questions about death raised by these shattering losses transformed the scope and purpose of his music. But that was in the future; the listener of this work gets the last music Suk was to write untouched by the most tragic side of life.