Joseph Suk's Ripening is one of the most amazing of all post-Romantic orchestral works. It is immensely complex in its structure: a celestial introduction is followed by a cogent progress of scherzos and slow movements, of funeral marches and fugues, all concluded by a serene coda. Yet the work is immediately comprehensible as a musical drama, made clear through the coherence of the thematic and harmonic material. Pesek and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic perform like modern-day deities. They fall short of the heights of Talich and the Czech Philharmonic, but Talich gave the work its premiere. Nonetheless, Pesek gives Ripening his very considerable all: his concentration holds the gigantic structure together as a single arch. Plus, his players articulate every instrumental detail, right down to the beatific wordless women's choir at the work's close. Highly recommended.
Dvorak's pupil and son-in-law Josef Suk was a fine violinist and a modest, highly capable composer known chiefly for a charming but unadventurous Serenade for Strings composed in his teens. But Dvorak's death in 1904 inspired him to the greatest creative effort of his life – an intensely emotional, richly elaborated memorial symphony, lasting an hour and named "Asrael" for the Islamic angel of death. The emotional content of the work became intensified during its composition when Suk's wife (Dvorak's daughter), Otylka, died when she was only 27, and "Asrael" became an elegy for father and daughter. The full power of this work is felt in this recording (Virgin 7-91221-2) by Libor Pesek and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of his debut solo album 'Voyage of the Acolyte', guitarist Steve Hackett embarked on a tour with this recording taken from the Liverpool concert of the UK leg in 2015. Songs performed include 'Wolflight', 'Jacuzzi', 'Ace of Wands' and 'Shadow of the Hierophant'…
After his much celebrated 2015 studio album, “Wolflight”, which cracked the top 40 in the UK and top 50 in Germany upon release, Steve Hackett has done something unusual for his new live release – he filmed and recorded it in Liverpool.“When InsideOut told me that I could film a gig on the British leg of the 2015 tour for release, I thought that we should do it away from London. My last three DVDs have been done at venues in the city – Shepherd's Bush Empire ('Fire & Ice', 2011), Hammersmith Apollo ('Genesis Revisited: Live At Hammersmith', 2013) and the Royal Albert Hall ('Genesis Revisited: Live At The Royal Albert Hall', 2013). I felt doing it in Liverpool had a certain ring to it. This is an extraordinary city and the Philharmonic Hall is an extraordinary venue. Besides, it's not as if Liverpool is known for having any good music – there's never been a good band from there. Ha!” Hackett's love for Liverpool goes back to his time with Genesis, as he attests.