Romance from Pohadka
arranged by Tony Turrill for cor anglais in a wind decette
Solo Viola and 2Fl./1Ob./2Cl../2Bsn./2Hn.
click here for some excerpts
here for a complete performance
Suk was born in Krecovice, Czechoslovakia, in 1874, the son of the village schoolmaster and organist. He studied the violin and composition at Prague Conservatory from 1885 to 1892, where he became the favourite pupil, a family friend and later son-in-law of Antonin Dvorak
Suk never wrote an opera but the next best thing was his incidental music for a play based on a Slav fairy tale. Recognizing that it was unlikely that the play would be given repeat performances, Suk salvaged most of his music by producing a four movement orchestral suite, Pohadka. The work is a story of requited love and as its first performance dates from the same period, its generally sunny ambience reflects the happy year of the wedding of Suk and Otilka, Dvorak daughter. The violin melody is the motto theme which is assigned to Prince Raduz and Pricess Mahulena, the two lovers of the fairy story (Ein maerchen), Suk labels the movement “Lovely lady with the violin”. As in many fairy stories, when Raduz’s father the benevolent King dies, the lovers fall foul of the wicked Queen Mother Mahulena who turns her daughter into a poplar tree and destroys the prince’s memory. Love finally overcomes the spell, Raduz chops down the tree and releases the princess and the melody of the first movement returns. As well as teaching and composing, Suk was a violinist and played second violin in the renowned Ceske String quartet which dated from his student days. The first movement of the suite is basically a romance written for him to perform, for Violin and Orchestra.
In this arrangement the solo violin part is largely as written by Suk except it has been reset from violin via viola to cor anglais. Cor was always my original intention. However the Romance happened to be a favourite of my late wife who threatened to leave me if I gave the part to a wind instrument We were in sight of our diamond wedding, so I settled on viola which worked very well. However we didn’t quite make it to our diamond wedding, It is now six years since she died so when flicking through the catalogue I was reminded of my original intention Making the adjustment was simple and sounded as well as I had originally hoped so it now has the advantage of being a standard wind decette provided one of the oboes owns a Cor.
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