Antonín Dvorák / Paul Juon: piano trios

Trio Basilea
Claudia Sutter, piano
Claudia Dora, violin
Christoph Dangel, violoncello

sound samples

order no. CCD 262
EAN 4028183002624

about this recording:
In the life’s work of both composers chamber music with piano accompaniment not only makes up a strikingly large part, but it also plays an important role in the personal musical life of the practicing violist (Dvorák) and violinist (Juon). Among their major chamber music works, Dvorák’s Piano Trio in F Minor, op. 65 and Juon’s tone poem for the same formation “Litaniae” op. 70, occupy an outstanding position. Both compositions embody the creative pinnacle within this genre, a genre that both musicians cultivated with great enthusiasm.
sound samples (mp3):
Dvorák, op.65: Allegro ma non troppo - Allegretto grazioso - Poco Adagio - Finale: Allegro con brio
Juon, Litaniae: Allegro moderato
Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904): 3. piano trio f-minor op.65
Paul Juon (1872-1940): Litaniae, tone poem op.70


(Review of Johannes Kloth in, 07.07.2005) 


Seriously and sensitively 

 “It is already an unusual idea, to combine the piano trio in F-minor op. 65 by Antonín Dvořák on CD with the “Litaniae” op.70 of the Russian-Swiss composer Paul Juon (1872-1940), written for the same instrumentation. Now with exactly this composition a completely special album succeeded to Swiss piano trio “Trio Basilea”.  Already the first bars of Dvořáks 1883 composed trio reveals why this probably belongs to at rarest performed works of this species: with a elegiac cello begins the “Allegro ma non troppo” in pianissimo. But the gentle light deceives: fast the tender gesture ebbs, the piano progresses with powerful block chord succession, the violin sets an accent in high position and the trio is already concerned in fortissimo. There are the dynamic contrasts, which apart from the unusual length – the Trio Basilea comes in its tendentious rather quick interpretation on nevertheless 36 minutes – to the most important feature of the Trios belong. Like no other work the F-minor-trio probably gives idea of Dvořáks mind situation. It is not heavy to interpret the rather dark work as an internal turning upness of the composer due to only few months since death of the mother.   


Quality already after few bars recognizably 

 Likewise reveals itself in these first bars already, with which musical seriousness the Trio Basilea approaches themselves to the musical material on this recording, produced by the Bamberg label Cavalli-Records. Claudia Sutter (piano), Claudia Dora (violin) and Christoph Dangel (Violoncello) do not take the liberty inaccuracies: With extreme musical precision that follows 1986 created Trio Antonín Dvořák from a lively C-sharp minor Scherzo, a relaxed D flat major Trio and a warm A flat major Adagio to the energetic final, which was written in the style of the “Furiant” – a Czech national dance. At all also this Klaviertrio is full with phrases and melodies of Slav. folk music, although Dvořák during the writing particularly this composition all too folk-song elements consciously avoided, what explains the frequently stated proximity to Brahms musical material.  It is not only the technical brilliance of the Trio, which convinces: Christoph Dangels beautifully portato performance, the warm beginning of the A flat major-Adagios in the third mouvement, led by the cello, contains neither a too much one at pathos, nor it has somewhat from the furious playing austerity of some interpretations.


Juon requires a maximum of expression strength 

Sensitivity distinguishes the flexible play of the three also in Paul Juons “Litaniae”, op.70 – a work, that was first performed in Berlin in the year 1919, thus 15 years after the death of the composer colleague Dvořák. On the numerous, rarely considered connections between Antonín Dvořák and the native Muscovite Juon, a grandchild of emigrants from Graubünden (Suisse), refers Walter Labhard in a succeeded in each regard introduction to activity and work of the two composers in the Booklet of that CD. Becomes clear: it is not only the proximity to the Slav. folk music, which showes a parallel between both artists. A community is for example also in the preference of the violist Dvořák and the violonist Juon for piano-accompanied chamber music. The F minor piano trio and the Litaniae takes up thereby a special value, mark it nevertheless in each case creative high points in the careers of the composers. And they are besides still nature-related: both works were conceived in four mouvements or in four parts and are throughout dominated by prevailing minor tonality. Juons exciting work requires a maximum of expression by the instrumentalists. With throughout accurate phrasings and much sense for sound-pictorial contrasts, the Trio is recommended also in this interpretation.  And if then still – like it the case with this CD – actual the sound quality completely convinces, even finest nuances are differentiated perceptible, can also all the sound aesthetes among the friends of chamber music be pleased.   All in all thus an extremely ambitioned affair, these CD. In addition not least details fit like the choice of the grand piano: Claudia Sutter selected a instrument of 2.25 m from the year 1914, in order to achieve an authentic sound picture if possible. The trouble of the Trio Basilea was worthwhile itself. The result of its project Dvořák/Juon is an album, which will enrich the classical CD-market.

© Cavalli Records 2005 top