Josef Suk (1874-1935) - Asrael / Symphony in C minor, Op. 27 (1905-06) 60:36
1. I. Andante sostenuto 15:58
2. II. Andante 7:18
3. III. Vivace 12:07
4. IV. Adagio 10:42
5. V. Adagio e maestoso 14:11
CD 2 Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) - Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20 (1939-40, rev. 1940) 'In memory of my parents' 20:17
1. I. Lacrymosa. Andante ben misurato 8:52
2. II. Dies irae. Allegro con fuoco 5:04
3. III. Requiem aeternam. Andante molto tranquillo 6:28
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Leader - Andrew Haveron
Conductor - Jiří Bělohlávek
Recorded live for the Czech Radio at the concert of the 63rd Prague Spring International Music Festival in the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House, Prague, on June 1st, 2008
A unique and symbolic encounter: the most distinguished Czech conductor of the present time and a fabulous British orchestra communicate the profound messages in the works of great national composers. Jiří Bělohlávek has mediated Czech music to orchestras and audiences worldwide, yet in 2006 - as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra - he became above all a Londoner. The recording at the 2008 Prague Spring festival of Suk's Asrael and Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem will for ever serve as evidence of the extraordinary understanding between Bělohlávek and the orchestra. The common denominator of the two works is the figure of the Angel of Death. A sad and immensely powerful inspiration for Suk was the passing away of his beloved wife Otilie and his dear teacher Antonín Dvořák. Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, dedicated to the memory of his parents, is one of the composer's early masterpieces. The recording marks a symbolic leave-taking on the part of Bělohlávek, who after six intense years as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra is returning "home" to the Czech Philharmonic.
Suk and Britten, Bělohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra - a meeting of the powerful traditions of English and Czech classical music.