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Dvorak: Piano Trios, Vol. 1 - Nos. 3 & 4 'Dumky' / The Tempest Trio

Album Summary

>Dvorak, Antonin : Trio for Piano and Strings no 3 in F minor, Op. 65/B 130
>Dvorak, Antonin : Trio for Piano and Strings no 4 in E minor, Op. 90/B 166 "Dumky"
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Dvorák's four surviving Piano Trios cornerstones of the repertory. No. 3,completed early in 1883 shortly after the death of the composer's mother, though tinged with sadness, also contains tender lyricism and strong nervous energy. The 'Dumky' Trio,one of Dvorák's most original and popular works, offers a seemingly endless variety of mood and texture, each movement incorporating a slow and melancholy section alternating with one which is faster, dance-like and cheerful.

Fanfare Magazine, Jerry Dubins
Every now and then a new recording of an old and over-recorded warhorse comes along to revive one's long-dead desire to hear yet another performance of it. Even less often does a new recording come along that convinces you on first hearing thatthe old gray mare may just be the best horse ever to come out of the stable; translation, the most fantastic performance of thegreatest piece of music ever written. Such a recording is the one at hand.

If you've never heard of the Tempest Trio - I know I hadn't before receiving this release - that's because I believe this is the ensemble's first recording as a group. But you're sure to recognize the names of these well-established veteran artists, all with their own distinguished solo careers: They are Ilya Kaler, violin; Amit Peled, cello; and Alon Goldstein, piano; and sometime around 2010 they came together to establish The Tempest Trio. After only a few seasons performing as a trio throughout the U.S., Europe, Israel, and Asia, the ensemble has been compared to the legendary "Million Dollar Trio" ofHeifetz, Piatigorsky, and Rubinstein.

One can argue the merits of such a comparison, but one can't argue the results achieved by The Tempest's players. What immediately grabbed my attention were not just their hair-trigger rhythmic reactions, their technical prowess, their sublimated responsiveness to each other's phrasing and dynamics, their refulgent tone, and their radiant vibrancy, but also their refreshing take on certain details of interpretation.

For example, in the "Dumky" Trio's third dumka, there's a section marked Vivace non troppo, and beginning 33 bars into that section, the violin has a figure in which the last three notes of each bar are two sixteenths and an eighth. Only on the first occurrence in that first bar of the passage, however, are the two sixteenth notes marked with those little spiccato dots in the Simrock first edition. But Kaler applies them throughout the passage, using a ricochet technique to bounce his bow off the string on each occurrence of those two sixteenth notes. It makes the line stand out like I've never heard it before, and it makes for the perfect evocation of Dvo?ák's ruddy-faced, slightly tipsy Czech peasants kicking up their heels.

The Tempest Trio even managed to hold my attention all the way through the overlong, somewhat digressive F-Minor Piano Trio, a work regarded by some as a milestone in Dvo?ák's output. As a result of too many dull performances I've heard of the piece, I'd be tempted to call it a millstone. But the Tempest really brings it to life. I'm not quite sure how they do it, but the players manage to enliven the turgid writing in a way that lightens the textures and gives free vent to the melodic flow.

This is a serious candidate for my annual Want List, and I would urge you with special pleading to acquire this release for what may well be the best Dvo?ák "Dumky" on disc ever. I would also urge Naxos with special pleading to engage The Tempest Trio in recording the whole of the mainstream piano trio literature as soon as possible.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Spencerville Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Silver Sprin (05/26/2013-05/29/2013).


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Works Details

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Trio for Piano and Strings no 3 in F minor, Op. 65/B 130
  • Ensemble: Tempest Trio (Piano Trio)
  • Notes: Spencerville Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Silver Springs, MD (05/26/2013-05/29/2013)
  • Running Time: 40 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Trio for Piano and Strings no 4 in E minor, Op. 90/B 166 "Dumky"
  • Ensemble: Tempest Trio (Piano Trio)
  • Notes: Spencerville Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Silver Springs, MD (05/26/2013-05/29/2013)
  • Running Time: 30 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music