Fairy Tale (Suk)

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Josef Suk wrote the music for Julius Zeyer's mythological drama Radúz and Mahulena in 1897-8. It was first performed on 6 June 1898, under the baton of Adolf Čech.

In 1899-1900, Suk extracted a four-movement Suite to this Pohádka (or Fairy Tale). Zeyer greatly impressed Suk. The style and orchestration is much affected by Richard Strauss (who was ten years Suk's elder), although Suk's writing is somewhat simpler. There are harmonic sideslips and turns of phrase that could almost have come out of Strauss's A Hero's Life (1898), yet Suk's manner is essentially simpler (and has at its centre the same lyricism which also makes his earlier Serenade such a delightful piece). Dvořák thought this Suite "music from heaven". The Suite was revised in 1912, and remains one of Suk's most successful works.

The four movements are:

  1. About the Constant Love of Raduz and Mahulena and Their Trials
  2. Intermezzo. Playing at Swans and Peacocks
  3. Intermezzo. Funeral Music
  4. Runa's Curse and How It was Broken by True Love