Smetana, Suk, Nov‡k

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Novak,Smetana,Suk
LABELS: Supraphon
ALBUM TITLE: Smetana, Suk, Novák
WORKS: Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15
PERFORMER: Smetana Trio
With venerable roots stretching back to the 1930s, the Smetana Trio is soaked in the traditions of Czech chamber music. Its present membership is, of course, of much more recent vintage and all display the innovative tendencies of many of the younger Czech chamber groups. This is notably to the fore in the choice of companion pieces to the Smetana Trio: rather than going for familiar repertoire, they include Suk’s early C minor trio and Novák’s magnificent one-movement trio ‘Quasi una ballata’.


Their reading of the first movement of the Smetana Piano Trio is one of the most satisfyingly dramatic I have heard on disc, while the string voicing in the elegiac second trio of the scherzo – the emotional heart of a work which mourns the death of the composer’s daughter Bedi>=ka – is quite simply exquisite. They are equally at home in the astonishingly accomplished Suk trio, written when he was only 15 and surprisingly untouched by Dvoák’s influence. Novák’s turbulently passionate trio is also given a masterly reading which maintains a clear sense of trajectory throughout. In a recording which is both realistic and vibrant, these performances are a magnificent tribute to the excellent state of Czech chamber music today.