Dvorak: Piano Trios, Opp. 21, 26, 65 & 90 (Dumky)

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Dvorak
LABELS: Arabesque
WORKS: Piano Trios, Opp. 21, 26, 65 & 90 (Dumky)
PERFORMER: Golub–Kaplan–Carr Trio
CATALOGUE NO: Z 6726-2
Dvorák’s four surviving piano trios (two early ones were destroyed) encompass a huge range of styles, including free-wheeling experiment in the famous ‘Dumky’ and a combination of powerfully developmental writing and lyricism in the F minor. Of the two early piano trios the B flat major is a real masterpiece with many features in the first movement anticipating the great A major piano quintet and even the open-hearted melodiousness of his American-period works.

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The Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio is at its best in the B flat trio. Some might find the first movement lacks the spaciousness the opening seems to demand, but I enjoyed their alert approach and will return to their performance with frequency. Their rendition of the G minor trio is also recommendable, but the later trios, notwithstanding some marvellous playing from the violinist Mark Kaplan in particular, are less satisfactory: parts of the F minor trio seem a touch routine, and the expressive solo lines in the Dumky are irritatingly wilful at times. As a whole, their performances fall well below the exalted level of Beaux Arts Trio’s complete recording, or in the Dumky, the Florestan Trio’s inspiring combination of insight and care. Jan Smaczny