> Dvorak Trios Guarneri [JW]: Classical Reviews- June 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Piano Trio No 3 op 65
Piano Trio op 90 Dumky
Guarneri Trio Prague
Recorded Domovina Studio October and November 1997
SUPRAPHON 11 1463-2 131 [66’45]
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This disc is volume 13 of Supraphon’s complete Chamber works and includes a remake of the 1991 Dumky Trio on Supraphon 11 1561-2. That was an affectionate, lyrical and youthfully expressive performance in an unsympathetically cold acoustic. This 1997 traversal is a rather more subtle affair recorded in a much warmer aural perspective. The Guarneri Trio Prague – Cenek Pavlik, violin, Marek Jerie, cello, and Ivan Klansky, piano – are now significantly and consistently faster than, say, the classic recordings of the Suk Trio in both trios. Violinist Cenek Pavlik has modified his earlier intensity of expression into something a good deal more mellow and proportionate. Their playing in the Poco Adagio of the Dumky is, as a result, a good deal less obviously loving than the earlier recording – but the gain is one of the properly delineated intimacies of declamation and reserve. They are very sensitive to dynamics and equally fluent; they trip elegantly through the Allegretto scherzando that follows the Andante moderato. I did feel however that in the last movement the musical argument wasn’t properly addressed; that there was a sense of musical corners not being turned. Though they did catch something of the sheer voluptuousness of op. 90, something too easily glossed or played down, nevertheless there was a smudged quality to some of the argument that hindered a full flowering of intensity.

In op. 65 the substantially revised, rather Brahmsian, first movement opens with fine tonal blending. The second movement lilts delightfully with the piano accenting the lyrical melody of the contrasting trio section (the first part is amusingly clod-hopping in the Guarneri’s hands). They take care not to allow the Poco adagio to collapse under its own weight; Pavlik is especially eloquent at a nicely moving tempo with its faster section in canonic imitation. Ivan Klansky comes into his own here, as he does in the finale where, never drawing attention to himself, he still weights his chords with perfect equilibrium and a real chamber musician’s understanding of the balance between piano and strings.

The coupling will probably determine the matter. The 1991 recording was harnessed to a good performance of the Smetana op. 15 but in a dead acoustic. Both these new performances, whilst not of elite quality, are still strong contenders.

Jonathan Woolf

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