This is a lovely coupling.
Both works on the disc represent lyric
outpourings by these composers; both
are successful as musical entities.
The recording dates
from 1986, but no further information
is given. It is generally acceptable,
though, if not the most intimate of
its kind, and has a tendency towards
roughness at levels of forte
and above. The players clearly love
this type of music and all three are
clearly very accomplished musicians.
assured first movement of the
Dvořák could perhaps blossom out
more. This said, there remains a flowing
inevitability to the argument that keeps
the interest. The slow movement (Largo)
is here a very interior statement, yet
there is a careless edit at 1’06 that
severely interrupts the
musical line. The pianist, Jonathan
Zak, excels in the rhythmic pointing
of the Scherzo, which exudes a fair
amount of energy. A pity that the annunciatory
chords of the finale serve to highlight
the edgy recording - in this way Dvořák’s
ebullient invention is dulled
around the edges.
Anton Arensky was a
pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov at the St Petersburg
Conservatory, later himself teaching
at the Moscow Conservatory from 1882-95.
His Piano Trio in D minor of 1894 is
one of his best-loved works and indeed
its eminently civilised demeanour complements
offering here perfectly. Some sections
even smack of Dvořák in their Slavic
intensity, but the work is generally
characterised by an easy lyric charm
that is more often than not on the surface.
A delightful Scherzo (with affecting
cascading figures on the piano)
leads to a truly lovely Adagio, marked
‘Elegia’. Achingly nostalgic, this in
turn prepares the way for a more resolute
‘Allegro non troppo’ which, although
containing a lower level of inspiration,
does us the favour of not outstaying
its welcome. Simca Heled’s cello sings
gloriously at various points here.
The Trio adds a further
layer of appreciation to this composer.
The Naxos recording of the Suites would
complement it well for the curious who
do not wish to overspend (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/Nov03/Arensky_suites.htm).
listening, then. The Dvořák will
certainly not displace any library recordings,
but the Arensky may make for a happy