The complete recording of Beethoven's piano trios made by the Suk Trio in 1983 and 1984 at the Rudolfinum in Prague for Nippon Columbia is now being released in its entirety for the first time on CD outside Japan. Trios in E flat major, G major, C minor, Op. 1; B flat major, Op. 11; D major, the "Geistertrio", and E flat major, Op. 70; B flat major, the "Archduke Trio", Op. 97; E flat major, WoO. 38; B flat major, WoO 39; 14 Variations on an Original Theme, in E flat major, Op. 44; 10 Variations on Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu, in G major, Op. 121a
Suk Trio: Josef Suk - violin, Josef Chuchro - cello, Josef Hála - piano
The 11 works Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) created for piano trio make up a group of pieces equally remarkable as his 16 string quartets. With over half of them written before 1800, prior to the composer's turning 30, they clearly reveal his creative flights and struggles, first and foremost serving to attest to the grand formation of Beethoven's compositional principles and the attainment of his apex. The present 4-CD album features the Suk Trio, who soon after their establishment in 1951 gained international renown and recognition. The recordings of Beethoven's piano trios for Japan's Nippon Columbia, completed within a short timeframe, from June 1983 to April 1984, were made by the mature ensemble when it included the violinist Josef Suk, the cellist Josef Chuchro and the pianist Josef Hála, who in 1980 had replaced Jan Panenka. Their sound was predominated by the strings, primarily the violin of Suk, who defined the interpretation principles. The singularity of the trio and their recordings alike rests in infallible technique, sonic refinement, admirable interplay and profound musicality devoid of any showboating.
The Suk Trio's top-class Beethoven recordings - for the first time for the whole world...
“Benefiting from a legendary acoustic and superlative engineering, these performances are truly enlightening. Individual strengths, grasp of structure and an ability to combine rugged, energised invention with expressive lyricism guarantee an uplifting experience. What you see on the page – every dot, slur, dynamic and nuance, the whole interactive, virtuosic drama – is what you hear. The results leave you feeling there can be no other way to play these masterworks.” International Piano, September 2021
“The combination of the Czech engineers’ expertise in the Rudolfinum and the Suk Trio’s cultivated dynamics, tonal congruity and sense of intimacy gives this set a profound sense of selflessness and radiates a sheer love of the music.” MusicWeb International, September 2021
“Turning to the venerable ‘old guard’, Supraphon has reissued the Suk Trio’s complete recording of Beethoven’s piano trios, the line-up not Suk, Panenka and Chuchro (the legendary configuration from 1960 onwards who recorded Op 1 No 3, the Ghost and the Archduke, also for Supraphon – 5/09) but with pianist Josef Hála replacing Panenka’s quiet virtuosity with parallel virtues of his own. Both players fit the mould to perfection and perhaps the best place to sample, initially, would be the Archduke’s endlessly songful slow movement. For an example of the Trio’s elegance, try the same work’s finale, whereas to hear them playing flat out I’d suggest you try the closing Presto of Op 1 No 2.” Gramophone Awards issue 2021
“L’intégrale a bénéficié d’une restauration sonore remarquable, rendant à chacun des instruments sa beauté sonore. Celle-ci apporte un supplément de plaisir d’écoute. Nous avons précisé plus avant que les références pour ces versions des Trios ne manquent pas. Cette réédition est en bonne place, elle rappelle une prestigieuse époque de l’histoire du disque au cours de laquelle le Trio Suk s’affirmait comme un ensemble complice aux capacités altruistes, à la technique supérieure et à l’éloquente musicalité. On la placera sur le rayon des intégrales beethoveniennes qui comptent.” Crescendo, October 2021
“There is something completely natural about the Suk Trio. It has that Central European feel that the music just rolls out effortlessly… These are great recordings… The sound is simply beautiful, but not as striking and forceful as some others.” American Record Guide, November 2021
Ludwig van Beethoven
Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello No. 1 E Flat major Op. 1/1