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Smetana Trio: inimitable Dvorák and Tchaikovsky, played with passion and torrential expressivity
The Smetana Trio, comprising the magnificent Jitka Cechová on piano, Jana Vonášková’s tender and passionate violin, and the sturdy underpinning of Jan Pálenícek’s vibrant cello, are today considered one of the very finest ensembles of their ilk.
After previous recordings mapping the peaks of Czech trio composition, on this CD the ensemble round off the set of Dvorák’s trios and at the same time venture beyond the borders of the Czech repertoire.
Their Tchaikovsky, however, surprises with a naturalness and torrential expressivity akin to that which in the case of Dvorák’s Dumky and Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor earned enthusiastic reviews and accolades (BBC Music Magazine Award 2007).
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor (one of the longest piano trios there is) was composed as a tribute to the recently decease Nikolai Rubinstein, and can be understood as the composer’s attempt at overcoming his personal antipathy to the sonic combination of piano with violin or cello. The Smetana Trio have grasped it with passion and apprehension of the “broad Slavonic soul”.
“…this two-movement Trio is Tchaikovsky's most remarkable chamber work… The Smetana trio responds with passion and intellectual engagement. They are equally impressive in Dvorák's Piano Trio No. 2, the elegiac G minor. The Smetana Trio provides expressive, perceptive playing at every turn: for example, just try the Scherzo in which Beethovenian intensity melts effortlessly into Dvorák's 'Slavonic' manner.”
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