DVOŘÁK Piano Trios Nos 3 & 4
With some discs, the very first notes tell you to expect something special. Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff sing softly together in the quietness at the start of Dvořák’s noble F minor Piano Trio (No 3) – cello and violin in equipoise, and proving with the very first dotted rhythm that they think and feel together too. Enter Lars Vogt on piano, and in that first surge he supports and carries his colleagues upwards: establishing, in barely eight bars of music, both the intimacy and assurance of these players’ partnership, and the magnificent sweep and expressive scope of what is to come.
I’m no fan of ‘all star’ chamber music projects but the virtuosity here is entirely at the service of the music, capturing the full symphonic grandeur of Dvořák’s vision without ever sounding like anyone is playing for effect. It’s always chamber music, and it’s helped by Ondine’s lifelike acoustic, against which the focus and refinement of the Tetzlaffs’ palette is never at any risk from Vogt’s expressive generosity (in the booklet note, he compares the Trio of the second movement to Rachmaninov – and he certainly delivers).
Grandiose when they need to be, the trio find moment after treasurable moment of subtly shaded tone colour (even Christian’s pizzicatos sound tender) – and you can imagine how that translates into the kaleidoscopic folk-fantasy of the Dumky. Staccato piano chimes its way over fading cello drones; melting violin lines float over translucent keyboard textures; the transitions are delicious; and of course, when the dances really start to fly, these players commit absolutely, without any loss of finesse. This disc sounds, and feels, like a recording born of love, and I urge you to listen.