Recording of the Week The Guarneri Piano Trio and the label Praga
As some of you will know, in addition to our website, we also have a 'real' shop in Leamington Spa where we sell a large selection of classical CDs and DVDs, as well as sheet music and instruments. One of the big advantages of having a real shop (apart from the stock of over 10,000+ CDs which we can draw on for immediate despatch), is that we can get involved in local events which we genuinely believe in.
Last weekend we were principal sponsor of the Leamington Czech Music Weekend - a five day festival featuring some of the finest music and musicians from that part of the world. There were some fantastic performances - particularly from the Skampa and Martinu Quartets - the latter of which have done so much to champion the composer's work over recent years. The highlight for me however has to be the Guarneri Piano Trio who played the Smetana Piano Trio along with the Dvorak ‘Dumky’ Trio on Tuesday night.
Founded in 1986 they are one of the most renowned piano trios in the world, and their astonishing rapport, combined with their impeccable playing, produced one of the most memorable evenings I have had for a long time. Luckily they also have a large catalogue of recordings, mainly on the Praga label, so I’ve been busy this week arranging a promotion on the label so you can all enjoy theirs' and some of the other fabulous chamber music recordings to come out of the Czech Republic in recent years.
I’ve also enjoyed finding out about the label Praga, which, despite what you would expect, is actually a French label. It was founded in 1991 by the musicologist and sound engineer Pierre-Émile Barbier, whose aim was to support Czech musicians following the arrival of western democracy in 1989, at which time the Supraphon label had lost its monopoly and stopped making recordings for a while.
It is with much appreciation that Mr Barbier did what he did as without him we would surely be deprived of some of the great chamber music recordings in the catalogue. Enjoy the rich pickings on offer - and in particular the Guarneri Piano Trio who surely have to be one of the (if not the) finest piano trios currently on the planet.