Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recorded in 1997 by DUX, these performances are now being distributed on the ?uk Records label. With some 50 listings of Dvo?ák’s most popular piano trio currently available, this entry from the Hamburg Piano Trio (Anna Preyss-Bator, violin; Valeri Krivoborodov, cello; Piotr Kurkowiak, piano) immediately makes one ask if there is room on the shelf for yet another “Dumky,” with the Abegg, Ax-Kim-Ma, Florestan, Golub-Kaplan-Carr, Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson, Lanier, Meadowmount, Nash, Rembrandt, and multiple Beaux Arts versions already taking up space? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. This is a beautiful recording of the Dvo?ák that provides a great deal of pleasure.
At first seeming to be a bit slower in tempo
than a number of others, it turned out in direct comparison to come in at pretty much the same timing as the above-named versions. The impression is due, I think, to the Hamburger’s approach, which is decidedly relaxed; they resist the temptation to overplay or exaggerate Dvo?ák’s unabashed Czechisms. Dvo?ák’s music, perhaps more so than that of other composers, given mastery of its technical difficulties, of course, tends to play itself; it needs no help to make its points. Others (the members of the Meadowmount Trio on Equilibrium, for example) have inserted themselves more into the score, schmaltzing it up in ways that make it sound like parts of the soundtrack to Fiddler on the Roof. In the Hamburg Trio’s hands, Dvo?ák’s Czech inflections trip off the page about as easily and naturally as I’ve heard them. This easily goes to the top of my “Dumky” list.
The Brahms C-Major Trio is a bit of a harder nut to crack. The same warmly lyrical, relaxed approach doesn’t work quite as well here as it does in the Dvo?ák. To be sure, there are passages of soaring Brahmsian lyricism, and this is one of the composer’s less angst-ridden, doom-laden chamber works. Still, there is more drama and tension here than in the “Dumky,” not to mention the smoldering Gypsy passion in the Andante con moto variations movement. Technically, the Hamburgs’ playing is faultless; it projects a sweetness of tone and unanimity of ensemble to be admired and envied. But my favorite in this work remains Angelich and the Capuçon brothers on a Virgin Classics release that took my breath away.
That said, this is still a very fine Brahms and, coupled with an outstanding “Dumky,” the Hamburg Trio’s disc earns a strong recommendation.
FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
Works on This Recording
Trio for Piano and Strings no 4 in E minor, Op. 90/B 166 "Dumky" by Antonín Dvorák
Hamburg Piano Trio
Written: 1890-1891; Bohemia
Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in C major, Op. 87 by Johannes Brahms
Hamburg Piano Trio
Written: 1880-1882; Austria
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