Magazine article Gramophone

Dvorak * Smetana: 'The Czech Album'

Magazine article Gramophone

Dvorak * Smetana: 'The Czech Album'

Article excerpt

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Dvorak * Smetana

The Czech Album' Dvofak Piano Trio No 3, Op 65 B130 Smetana Piano Trio, Op 15 AtosTrio Farao (F) B108093 (72' * DDD)

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Having already produced French and Russian albums, the Atos Trio turn their attention to the Czechs. But the works on this 'Czech Album' share more than their birthplace. Dvorak wrote his Trio in F minor, Op 65, shortly after the death of his beloved mother, while Smetana composed his Trio in G minor, Op 15, in response to the loss of his five-year-old daughter. The Atos's reading is duly stony-faced.

Which serves the music fairly well. In this German ensemble's hands Dvorak's trio has a weight and grandeur befitting its symphonic dimensions. The first movement gathers tension slowly but steadily. The slow third movement is wonderfully expansive. These players don't shy away from the emotional extremes, but nor do they force them. And in those moments of quiet reflection, they are at their most eloquent.

The problem is that it all sounds obstinately Germanic. Yes, Dvorak drew influence from his colleagues across the border. …

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