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Antonín DVOŘÁK 1841-1904)
Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65 [40:33]
Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90 “Dumky” [32:05]
Lars Vogt (piano)
Christian Tetzlaff (violin)
Tanja Tetzlaff (cello)
rec. 2018, Sendesaal Bremen, Germany
ONDINE ODE1316-2 [72:56]

These are two giants of the piano trio repertoire that is dear to my heart, and while this new recording enters a very crowded field, the presence of the three performers who are considerable soloists in their own right, means that the release demands attention.

Let’s get one thing out in the open straight away: these are the most dramatic and intense performances of these works I’ve heard. If your preference is for elegance such as those of the Beaux Arts and Florestan Trios, you may not be too keen on these big-boned and raw performances. Pianist Lars Vogt really hammers the keyboard at times, but don’t let that give you the impression that there is a lack of subtlety: the slow movements are meltingly beautiful. The booklet notes, which are in the form of a conversation between the three performers, emphasise the Bohemian folk music that inspired so much of Dvořák’s pre-American music. The raw intensity of the performances can be seen as a way of expressing these folk roots.

This is the only version of the Brahmsian F minor trio that I have in my collection to go beyond 40 minutes. I have no doubts that there are others, but it is to the credit of the performers that at no time is there a sense of dragging. Everything feels just about right. However, it is the Dumky that really takes the plaudits here. Without question, it is the best I’ve heard, and the third movement is simply astonishing in its melancholic beauty. If you love these works, and if you are reading this, you almost certainly do, you owe it to yourself to hear the Tetzlaffs and Vogt.

If I have a reservation about this otherwise marvellous recording, it is that the tone of the violin on occasions, generally at moments of fortissimo and above, becomes quite shrill. This is a something of a personal peeve, and I suspect most listeners will not be bothered by the sound. Perhaps the miking is a little close, though there is no extraneous noise.

Perhaps the intensity of the performances means that this is not a recording for every day, just Sunday best, but it is certainly special.

David Barker



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