For whatever reasons, wind trios have never been as
fashionable as their piano or string cognates, but for those who have
discovered the pleasures to be derived from the unique sonorities, this
disc should appeal greatly. Though the four composers are relatively
unknown outside the Czech Republic - albeit the odd work of Ilja Hurník's
does pop up on recordings here and there - this is sophisticated music
that is also really rather tuneful, with little ground yielded to modernism
and none at all to vanguardism.
In this short but invigorating recital by the hugely experienced Novák
Trio - 2014 will mark an incredible thirty years with the same line-up
- Jaroslav Krcek, for reasons not made clear in the notes, gets the
lion's share of the spotlight. He is well worth hearing though,
as indeed are Gemrot and Hurník: their music is unfailingly elegant,
witty and colourful. Krcek's klezmer-influenced Hail, Thou
is especially memorable. Some of his other music
is available on earlier ArcoDiva releases, notably his Czech-language
) and the Fifth Symphony (FOK
, with Brahms' Third).
All the works on the present recording are linked not only by their
'Czech contemporariness', but by their dedication to the
Novák Trio. Curiously, the Trio are rather lackadaisical towards the
marking of Svoboda
, opting instead for a more leisurely pace -
a fleeting piece by nature, but less fleeting than the composer might
have had in mind.
Sound and general technical quality are very good. As the given dates
make clear, this is actually two recordings nearly twenty years apart
fused into one - seamlessly. The Czech-English booklet notes by Trio
oboist Gabriela Krcková are well written and well translated. The running
time leaves something to be desired, but the disc comes with a low-end
mid-price ticket by way of compensation.
From a financial point of view, 'Czech Contemporary Music'
does not seem the wisest of titles for ArcoDiva to give any new release
- something a little less 'minatory'-sounding might have
led to wider sales. A pizzazzier cover design would surely have helped
a bit too.
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