DVOŘÁK Piano Trios Nos 3 & 4
Unlike the Florestan Trio, who celebrated their birth with these very two Dvořák trios, the Wanderer have waited 30 years to take them into the studio. It was worth it – even in these two much-recorded works, they make their mark, striking a balance between energy and poise.
The slow introduction to the ‘Dumky’ has a real sense of purpose, and with the violin solo comes solace, the cello ardently imitating its portamento. Once we reach the Allegro the accents pungently propel the music forwards without exaggeration. One of the challenges of the ‘Dumky’ is the constant switching of mood and tempo, yet the Wanderer make it all sound effortless without underplaying the music’s contrasts. Some may prefer a slightly leaner cello sound than the refulgent tone Raphaël Pidoux produces at points such as the opening of the Poco adagio, in which case sample the Florestan’s Richard Lester or the many-hued Bernard Greenhouse in the classic 1969 Beaux Arts account. In the third movement, the Wanderer find a perfect balance between stillness and surging movement, while the concluding sixth movement is a masterclass in textural balance and pacing, drawing you ineluctably into their vivid storytelling.
The Op 65 Trio is no less compelling, and the Wanderer find finesse in the first movement’s more inner moments, which contrast very effectively with the full-throated tuttis. The Florestan, by comparison, are lighter-toned, the recent Busch Trio version just a tad more spacious, which results in a reading that has a degree less inevitability. The Wanderer find an irrepressible swing to the Allegro grazioso and in its gentler moving middle section they seize the opportunity to relax just a little. Their slow movement features ardent duetting between violin and cello, while the group makes us acutely aware of the finale’s Brahmsian elements, more so than the irrepressibly playful Beaux Arts. Preference will be down to personal taste, but this is unquestionably a notable addition to the Dvořák shelves.