Dvorak: Piano Trio in F minor, Op. 65; Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90 (Dumky)

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COMPOSERS: Dvorak
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Piano Trio in F minor, Op. 65; Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90 (Dumky)
PERFORMER: Joachim Trio
CATALOGUE NO: 8.550444
This first volume of, presumably, a two-CD complete recording, couples Dvorák’s two most contrasting trios, both from his maturity. The F minor, with its epic demeanour and Brahmsian stylistic affinities is hard to bring off, partly because the composer himself was not entirely sure of himself when composing it. The Joachim Trio, while certainly in command of the rhetoric, doesn’t quite have the measure of the musical argument in the first movement; individual details are fine, but the whole doesn’t quite hang together. The middle movements, with the Allegro grazioso taken at a fairly brisk pace, are more successful. Although the slow movement begins in understated fashion it builds impressively and the finale is splendid.

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The Joachim’s way with the popular (and much recorded) Dumky Trio is in all particulars first rate. This is a deeply intelligent performance which not only preserves the passion and wide ranging moods of the score, but manages to underline the strength of Dvorák’s structure. Where so many performances allow the work to fall into a sequence of disconnected items, the Joachim allows the melodic connections between movements, often buried in the texture, to emerge. Altogether a highly recommendable version of the Dumky. Jan Smaczny