Pohádka "Fairy Tale"

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Josef Suk

Pohádka "Fairy Tale"

Op. 16

About this work

The suite called Fairy Tale by Josef Suk is an arrangement and expansion of the incidental music he wrote for Julius Zeyer's Dramatic Tale Raduzand Mahulena in 1889. The complete incidental music included interludes, postludes, choruses, songs, and melodramas. From this, Suk extracted and then re-composed four movements that charted the destiny of the two title characters. The opening movement, "The Love of Raduz and Mahulena," is a deeply poetic depiction of their love in lushly sweet orchestral colors with the solo violin taking the lead. The following "à la Polka" second movement, despite its Polish title, is a joyous and sparkling series of Czech dances. The Funeral Music Adagio that follows is heart-numbing in its agonized power and heartrending in its palpable sense of anguished loss. And the demonic drive and cathartic release of his closing "Victory of Love" finale is, as such things would always be with Suk, the triumphant apotheosis of love. Because Suk saw himself and his own beloved Otilka as Raduz and Mahulena, the work has autobiographical implications and many of the themes and motifs of the Fairy Tale would re-appear in Suk's later music. The solo violin of the opening and closing movements later became a symbol for the violin-playing Suk himself. "The Fate" motif of the first and third movements would become one of the two main themes of the "Asrael" Symphony. And, of course, the apotheosis of love finale is the overriding goal of nearly all Suk's major works.