MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

 58,121 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

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

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



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
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65 (1883) [38:31]
Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90 (Dumky) (1890-1) [29:32]
Wu Han (piano); Philip Setzer (violin); David Finckel (cello)
rec. Concert Hall, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, June 2012
ARTISTLED 11201-2 [68:03]

Generally, chamber music, like symphonies, readily accommodates nationalistic musical influences. The quartets of Smetana and Dvořák - including the latter's so-called "American" - clearly sound as "Slavic" as those composers' symphonic works; Tchaikovsky's quartets are similarly "Russian". The piano trio appears to be the exception: the combination of piano, violin, and cello somehow gives everything a neutralizing, "classical" overlay. Even those heavy-hitting Russians, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, go all cosmopolitan and aristocratic in their piano trios. Only the French post-Wagnerians manage to retain a distinctive style in this medium - but then, that style is grounded in clarity of texture and design rather than in specific melodic or rhythmic tropes.
Dvořák was not immune to this phenomenon. In the F minor Trio, a big-boned but cogently argued score, he effectively turns into Brahms. The taut, volatile opening movement - Allegro, ma non troppo - could as easily have been from the pen of the master, with only the obsessive-compulsive exposition codetta and a few rhythmic tics to suggest otherwise. The scherzo's theme is indeed a polka, as the annotator notes, but its dance lilt is reined in by a constant triple-time pulsing beneath - a characteristic Brahmsian rhythmic juxtaposition.
In the latter two movements, the composer begins to show his true colours. The Poco adagio begins with restraint, but eventually breaks forth into yearning phrases; by the coda, the classical facade has been dropped. The expressive manner in the finale, despite some Brahmsian piano writing, is overtly Dvořák's, whether driving or expansive. In the coda, the cello's serene, wistful reminiscence of the originally incisive opening theme is a piece of pure musical Bohemia. 
The performance is gripping and persuasive. Violinist Philip Setzer's intonation is spot-on, and, unlike even some experienced practitioners, he knows how to scale down in volume and tonal amplitude without losing quality. Cellist David Finckel intones the first movement's second theme with clear, stoic fervour, though his tone can be less focused on the lower strings. Pianist Wu Han is a strong but unobtrusive presence here. 

The artists do equally well by the Dumky, six short movements based on folk and folk-like themes. Here the composer, freed from having to deal with formal considerations, allows his familiar musical personality free rein. The music's varying moods register more strongly by being heard in strong immediate contrast: scampering dances follow directly on outpourings of broad lyricism, giving way in turn to passages of reflection or nostalgia. The score affords Han some particularly dazzling moments, but all three players project the music with vivid feeling. Setzer lets his bow sit too long on the string in some of the lively bits, but otherwise the players avoid the trap of over-refinement.
With excellent sound, this augurs well for further "artist-led" releases from ArtistLed.
Stephen Francis Vasta
Stephen Francis Vasta is a New York-based conductor, coach, and journalist.
See also recent reviews of these trios on the Champs Hill and Bridge labels