The compositions of Josef Suk (1874 – 1935) have been said to capture “something of the same life-affirming Czech spirit that was also characteristic of Dvorák, though they also reveal considerable individuality in both melodic writing and structure” (New Classics). Small wonder there’s a similarity; the young Bohemian was a student of Dvorák’s in Prague…and wound up marrying his daughter!
Suk fell hard for Otile Dvořákova (1878 – 1905), eldest of the six Dvorák children to survive to adulthood. Otile was a pianist and composer in her own right, and accompanied her father to New York to study piano at the National Conservatory.
Perhaps it is that longing for his faraway beloved in America that makes one of Suk’s most famous compositions, the 1893 “Song of Love,” so poignant and compelling. See and hear for yourself, in this glorious performance from Heifetz ’22 by Heifetz student Fiona Khuong-Huu, joined by faculty pianist Rohan De Silva.
Josef Suk and Otile Dvořák at the time of their courtship in the mid-1890’s. Suk inscribed the picture with the dedication: “To Dear Miss Otilka Dvořáková, 1894”