Although his music is rarely performed nowadays, Eugen Suchoň was the most influential and respected Slovak composer of the twentieth century.
Three of his greatest symphonic works are performed here by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and its artistic director, Neeme Järvi. The works were composed during the years which Suchoň spent in Bratislava, where he turned his interest to the origins of Slovak folk music and to extended tonality.
In the four-movement Baladická suita (Balladic Suite), of 1935, Suchoň incorporates some Slovak folk elements and demonstrates his mastery of orchestration in an almost impressionist piece of great power and vitality. Written in 1953, the Metamorfózy (Metamorphoses) reflects the composer’s own impressions during the war years, from a relatively tranquil pre-1939 to more disturbed wartime emotions in the Allegro moderato, the last two movements respectively peaceful and triumphal.
If the Symfonietta rustica, completed in 1956, opens with some lyrical and rhapsodic elements recalling the Metamorfózy, this rustic work, adapted from the earlier Sonata rustica for piano, shows what the composer had achieved through his experiments in the modality of Slovak folk music. Winner of two Grammy Awards, in 2004 and 2010, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra is the longest continually operating professional orchestra of its kind in Estonia and tours all over the world.