Dvorak: Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat, Op. 21; Piano Trio No. 2 in G minor, Op. 26; Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65; Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90

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COMPOSERS: Dvorak
LABELS: Carlton
WORKS: Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat, Op. 21; Piano Trio No. 2 in G minor, Op. 26; Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65; Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90
PERFORMER: Solomon Trio
CATALOGUE NO: 30366 00247
Dvorák’s four surviving piano trios stand at significant junctures in his composing career. The first two were important in establishing the simpler, more melodious style he adopted in the mid-1870s. The great F minor Trio marks Dvorák’s closest point of contact with Viennese Classicism, while the popular, free-spirited Dumky Trio shows the move towards a more direct approach to expression, characteristic of his later years.

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The Beaux Arts Trio’s excellent complete recording on Philips is fierce competition for any newcomers. The Florestan Trio’s performances of the F minor and the Dumky Trios measure up well. Along with the vividness and intensity of its playing, it shows a remarkable attention to the detail of the score; the result is both fresh and exciting, and makes for hugely stimulating listening. Though far from routine, and very well recorded, the Solomon Trio’s versions of all four trios do not offer quite the same level of involvement or insight. I also missed a clear sense of line in the first movement of the F minor Trio and parts of the Dumky. Its performances are often enjoyable, but it rarely penetrates far into the soul of these confidential, highly personal works. Jan Smaczny