Piano Trio No. 3 in F-minor Op 65, B130 (1883) [40:22] Bedřich SMETANA
(1824-1884) Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15 (1855) [27:36]
(Micaela Gelius (piano); Streten Krstic (violin); Michael Hell (cello))
rec. Grosser Saal of Augsburg University, September
This is a sensible coupling. The Dvořák is the more recorded
and here receives a persuasive performance. It’s somewhat slower
than the classic Suk Trio traversal though not in the finale where
the momentum is exciting. One of my few complaints relates to
the recording not the performance. It’s rather up-front and quite
dry and so there’s not much bloom to the strings, which on occasion
- the violin of Streten Krstic especially - sound a touch wiry.
It’s true that the Gelius trio is not quite so adept at floating
some of the more lyrical paragraphs and that by comparison with
some other recordings they can, from time, seem a bit straight
backed – but compensation comes in the shape of the athletic and
The slow movement
isn’t as sharply etched or as rhythmically urgent as the Suk
Trio but in the context of the Gelius’s playing it’s entirely
consistent, with a second subject that is broad and singing.
Possibly the dynamics could be more acutely judged but that
might be a question of the recording balance. And the withdrawn
quality that many of the finest native trios find in this
movement is not so evident, though the zest the Gelius brings
will have to do in place of wistful freshness. These things
are in any case a question of degree. The finale is certainly
fast, not quite furious, but exciting and energetic. It’s
a more than competent reading all in all – not a front-runner
but a well-considered and vital performance.
work is an older established cornerstone of the Czech chamber
repertoire, Smetana’s Op.15. Things open very expressively,
heavily vibrated and bordering on the overwrought – but things
soon settle down into the Gelius modus operandi, which is
one of generous intensity. The sense of ensemble is fine in
this work, as fine indeed as in the companion. The rhythm
is crisp, tight, Micaela Gelius proving an impressive guide,
perhaps at her very – and considerable – best in the driving
finale. Her partners match tonal and vibrato matters well.
One criticism here; I wish they’d slightly relax more within
a phrase - in the second movement in particular. Some of the
playing is just a little too quick to allow them to phrase
more broadly with the result that the performance is rather
unsmiling. It could do with a bit of yielding to be even more
Not a first choice
then – but this is a trio to watch.
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