One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3

Support us financially by purchasing
this disc through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid world-wide.

Elegiac Stories
Josef SUK (1874-1935)
Elegy for Piano Trio, Op.23 [5:27]
Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884)
Piano Trio in g minor, Op.15 [27:01]
Sylvie BODOROVÁ (b.1954)
Prefigurations (Piano Trio) [8:45]
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Piano Quartet in a minor [11:55]
Sketch for a Scherzo Movement [1:20]
Eben Trio (Terzie Fialová (piano), Roman Patočka (violin), arkéta Kubínová Vrbková (cello)) guest: Kristina Fialová (viola) on Mahler works
rec. Martinů Hall, Lichtenstein Palace, Prague, (Academy of Performing Arts, Prague) Czech Republic, March 2012
ARCODIVA UP 0143 2 211 [54:56]

I would describe myself as a happy person yet the music I find I’m invariably drawn to is that which is serious even sombre. This mood taps into my soul more directly and helps me reflect on things more effectively. The mere title of this disc appealed to me straightaway.
Josef Suk’s Elegy for Piano Trio started out as a work written for violin, cello, string quartet, harmonium and harp. It was composed to mark the first anniversary of the death of writer, dramatist and poet Julius Zeyer (1841-1901). The arrangement heard here for piano trio is more effective with the achingly beautiful tune coming out in a more undiluted fashion which makes the clean lines so much more telling. Someone wrote that if one had identified Suk’s music as being by Dvořák then one would be as close to being right while still being wrong. The music of Suk who was Dvořák’s son-in-law was so very similar, occupying the same central European romantic soundscape.
Smetana poured his feelings of anguish into his piano trio; anguish caused by the death firstly from tuberculosis then scarlet fever of two of his four young daughters in one year (1854-55) with a third dying in 1856 aged only eight months. He was particularly hit by the death of four year old Bedřiška who was already musically talented. He sought solace in writing this most affecting trio quickly between September and November of 1855 immediately following Bedřiška’s death. Music is so much more able to express such deeply felt emotions than mere words can ever be. This explains why many novelists envy composers for that ability. Smetana’s sadness is almost palpable in this work which he subjected to two revisions. This final version is a cry from the heart to which everyone can readily respond.
Sylvie Bodorová is a new name to me so I was very interested to hear her Prefigurations which she wrote in 1983. The opening is bleak in the extreme with a three note theme which eventually grows in scope but with the music always remaining very spare. Bodorová explains that the music tries to capture the situation in which “we see or experience an image of reality for which we have been wishing. But suddenly it vanishes and we are left with just a belief or an awareness of the prefiguration.” I don’t pretend to understand the concept but was nevertheless interested to hear the work which has an ethereal feeling to it and which acts as a kind of aural palate-cleanser in between the other works which come from the richly ‘romantic’ tradition.
It was interesting to read that while Gustav Mahler wrote so much music in so many genres he wrote no chamber music apart from this most lovely one-movement quartet. This he began at the age of sixteen during his first year at the Vienna Conservatoire. I’m sure you’ll recognise it as I did and puzzle not to say regret that he never added to it since such promise is indicated that he had within him the capacity to have produced some wonderful chamber works. The last item added as a ‘bonus’ is a fragment lasting a mere eighty seconds and again tantalises with promise unrealised.
The Eben Trio play all the works beautifully and when they are joined by Kristina Fialová (Terezie’s sister?) they become a very effective quartet. I’m sure we will hear more from these talented musicians.
Steve Arloff