Dvorak: Piano Trio in B flat, Op. 21; Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 26; Piano Trio in F minor, Op. 65; Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90 (Dumky)

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COMPOSERS: Dvorak
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Piano Trio in B flat, Op. 21; Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 26; Piano Trio in F minor, Op. 65; Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90 (Dumky)
PERFORMER: Borodin Trio
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9642(2) Reissue (1984-93)
It is good to have the complete run of this group’s recordings of the four surviving Dvorák trios. In the case of the first two trios, these performances are the best available – indeed, it would be hard to imagine a more likeable rendition of the B flat Trio; although it was composed relatively early in Dvorák’s career, it foreshadows many aspects of his mature style. The Borodin Trio plays the work almost lovingly – listen to the meltingly beautiful passage just before the recapitulation in the first movement.

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Its approach to Op. 21 is equally appealing. Unfortunately, its performance of Op. 65, though certainly intelligent, is rather effortful and often over-emphasises the slightly artificial qualities of the work, and its curiously monumental reading of the Dumky Trio means that it rarely catches the overt popular tone in this work. While the Borodin Trio’s performances are certainly recommendable, the Beaux Arts Trio gets to the expressive heart of each work. Jan Smaczny