Notes and Editorial Reviews
This fruitful collaboration by three eminent chamber musicians, Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt, brings together two Piano Trios by the Czech master, Antonín Dvorák (1841–1904). During the last eight years, artists forming this unique trio have recorded eight albums of chamber music for Ondine with great acclaim, including some of the Romantic standard works. These two chamber music masterpieces by Antonín Dvorák express great emotional depth and dark passion. The two piano trios by Dvorak featured in this album have remarkable similarities as well as differences. Piano Trio No. 3, nearly symphonic in its character, hints to
the world of Johannes Brahms, while the Piano Trio No. 4 includes folkloric elements. The third piano trio might not only be considered as an homage to Brahms; it was written by the composer in 1883 shortly after the death of his mother which might well explain the sorrowful musical expression in the slow movement of the work. The ‘Dumky’ trio has a very unusual structure in its six movements. This intense and intimate work was written just prior to the composer’s departure to New York in 1891 and serves as a great climax for Dvorak’s series of piano trios.
Dvorák’s last two piano trios make such a perfect coupling that many of them have been issued. The F minor Trio shows the composer at the zenith of his “classical” style (many commentators say Brahmsian, but that’s not really accurate, as we’re talking more about a genuine stylistic affinity than modeling). The “Dunky” Trio, on the other hand, is the apotheosis of Dvorák’s personal, Slavic style and it operates entirely in non-traditional forms. Both are flat-out masterpieces.
Since time immemorial the reference versions of these works have come from the Suk Trio, on Supraphon/Denon, and these performances match them, although they are quite different. The Czech trio offers interpretations of great directness, with especially pointed rhythms that give the music a freshness that we’ve come to think of as quintessentially Czech. Here, there’s more of a sense of three individual characters coming together to make music, each full of personality but also ready to cooperate as necessary. For instance, you can tell right from the start of the F minor Trio that the Tetzlaffs are of one mind in the opening string phrase, but then the music takes flight and distinctive voices emerge. It’s not easy to describe, but you can hear what I’m talking about immediately.
In general, this ensemble plays with a freedom of pulse and flexibility of rhythm that the stricter Suk Trio doesn’t attempt (never mind groups such as the Beaux Arts), but the result always sounds natural because the players respect the shape of the musical phrases and paragraphs. Consider, for example, the fifth movement of the Dumky Trio, with its alternation between rhapsodic episodes and music in march tempo (sound clip). This is big-hearted, spontaneous music making, the very ideal of chamber music in its original intimate, domestic setting, only with real virtuoso performers. Gorgeously engineered, it just doesn’t get better.
– ClassicsToday (David Hurwitz) Read less
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title