Kinsky Trio Prague

Foerster, Novák, Janácek, Fibich: Piano Trios

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With the exception of Leos Janácek, the remainder of the album by the Kinsky [Piano] Trio Prague will likely be unknown to the vast majority of listeners. Each was both active and successful in turn-of-the-century Prague, carrying the torch left by Dvorák and Smetana. Yet the music has largely fallen into oblivion, relying on the efforts of intrepid ensembles such as the Kinsky Trio Prague to bring it back into consideration. The piano trios of Josef Bohuslav Foerster, Vítezslav Novák, and Zdenek Fibich are not necessarily on the same playing field as the aforementioned predecessors, but the group nevertheless represents an intriguing link in the progression of Czech chamber music from the end of the 19th century through the 20th. Though he did not produce a piano trio, his Pohádka for cello and piano is heard here in the premiere of a recently published, complete four-movement format. This is the height of the disc both musically and technically. The lesser-known pieces are performed with an understanding and intimacy with Czech music that could only come from a Czech ensemble such as this. While much of the playing is quite solid and generally musically colorful and robust, there are some technical shortcomings. The violin and cello sound does not blend together especially well, pitch is not always completely solid, and articulation between the strings is not reliably uniform. Still, listeners may still enjoy the exposure to these long-lost pieces by nearly forgotten composers.

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