Dvorak • Suk: Piano Trio in F minor, Op. 65
Much is made of the supposedly Brahmsian nature of Dvorák’s great F minor Trio. Though not untouched by the influence of his friend, the approach to melody, not to mention counter-melody, and colour are very much Dvorák’s own and the results are profoundly impressive. Written at a time of some stress, a tragic air hangs over the opening Allegro ma non troppo while the Poco adagio is one of Dvorák’s most reflective slow movements. The Berlin Philharmonic Trio takes a rather portentous view of the first movement. At times its approach is darkly impressive, but the players’ tendency to react to each emotional shade undermines the impressive sense of line which Dvorák builds so carefully. The remaining movements fare much better with expressive playing balanced by a strong sense of forward impetus. The trio’s performance of Suk’s early Piano Trio, first composed before he began his studies with Dvorák, makes excellent sense of this distinctly eclectic composition. The players wend their way enthusiastically through the welter of influences – not just Dvorákian ones. They also take trouble to find the composer’s nascent originality, realised much more completely in the moving Elegy, a fine performance of which concludes this issue.