Dvorak/Martinu

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Dvorak/Martinu
LABELS: ASV
WORKS: Piano Quintet in A; Piano Quintet
PERFORMER: Peter Frankl (piano)Lindsay String Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 889 DDD
The Dvorák and Martinu Piano Quintets make an ideal coupling, since they are the finest such pieces in the Czech repertoire. Each is the product of a mature master whose experience allowed for the most subtle combinations and insights; and these performances are given by players of whom the same might readily be said.

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The extraordinary first movement of the Dvorák Quintet sets out with all the innocence of salon music; yet as the music proceeds so the moods range wider, while maintaining a firm sweep of cohesive momentum. The players also manage to convey the work’s essential unity along with its strong personality; and the phrasing of the Dumka second movement has both expressive warmth and tenderness.

Martinu’s Quintet (1944) is masterly too, though it has only recently achieved the recognition it deserves. Dating from the composer’s years in America, its scale is the chamber music equivalent of his contemporary symphonies. The music’s unique personality is well captured in this idiomatic and well-recorded performance, both in the introspective lyricism of the slower music and the rhythmic vitality of the strongly Czech scherzo.

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This disc does full justice to these fine pieces and deserves to head the list of recommended recordings. Terry Barfoot