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Dohnanyi, Dvorak, Suk

Dohnanyi / Ensemble Raro / Bielow
Release Date: 07/30/2013 
Label:  Solo Musica   Catalog #: 187   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ernö von DohnányiAntonín DvorákJosef Suk
Performer:  Andrei Bielow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Raro
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



DOHNÁNYI Piano Quintet No. 1 1. DVORÁK Piano Quartet No. 2. SUK Elegie, op. 23 1 Ens Raro; 1 Andrej Bielow (vn) SOLO MUSICA 189 (71:45)


Ensemble Raro—comprising, in the present program, pianist Diana Read more Ketler, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky, violist Razvan Popovici, and cellist Bernhard Naoki Hedenborg—is yet another in the seemingly endless stream of accomplished young chamber groups emerging from Europe. This group is truly international: the members come from Latvia, Russia, Romania, and Austria, respectively; their website is in German, and this CD was produced in conjunction with Bucharest’s SoNoRo Festival. According to the website, there are four additional members; presumably the size of the ensemble is flexible, to fit the varying needs of its large repertoire. This is my first introduction to the group’s playing.


This CD is an interesting program of not-too-familiar chamber music. It would be hard to come up with another op. 1 that is as self-assured and fully representative of its composer’s mature style as Ernö Dohnányi’s C-Minor Piano Quintet, written when he was 18 and praised by no less a judge than Brahms. Ensemble Raro plays this work with great passion, but short-changes its lyricism; the reading is refreshingly free of bombast, and is tonally and technically faultless, but sounds a bit driven in places. It will likely appeal to those who find Dohnányi’s music somewhat sentimental. For my taste, the Schubert Ensemble of London with William Howard on Hyperion strikes a better balance.


Dvorák’s Eb-Major Piano Quartet is contemporaneous with his Eighth Symphony, with which it has a marked stylistic affinity. Ensemble Raro’s interpretation is lean, like that of the Dohnányi; while it gave much pleasure, I would have liked a bit more warmth, and more Schwung in the third movement, which doesn’t really dance in this performance. The Elegie for piano trio by Dvorák’s student and son-in-law Josef Suk is a brief but attractive bonus.


Good recorded balances and ambience; the interesting booklet essay by Dr. Eva Gesine Baur is, however, not very informative regarding either the compositions or the performers. This is a very fine chamber recital that just misses the bull’s-eye.

FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quintet for Piano and Strings no 1 in C minor, Op. 1 by Ernö von Dohnányi
Performer:  Andrei Bielow (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Raro
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895; Budapest, Hungary 
Venue:  Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling 
Length: 28 Minutes 20 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Piano and Strings no 2 in E flat major, Op. 87/B 162 by Antonín Dvorák
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Raro
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Bohemia 
Venue:  Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling 
Length: 35 Minutes 59 Secs. 
3.
Elegy for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 23 by Josef Suk
Performer:  Andrei Bielow (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Raro
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902; Prague, Czech Republ 
Venue:  Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling 
Length: 5 Minutes 55 Secs. 

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