A representative selection of recordings made by the distinguished Czech pianist and teacher Martin Ballý, both as a soloist and chamber musician: Antonín Dvořák – Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 21; “Dumky”, Op. 90. Vítězslav Novák – Trio quasi una ballata. Bohuslav Martinů – Piano Trio No. 2 in D minor, H 327; Les Ritournelles, H 227. Dmitri Shostakovich – Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67. W. A. Mozart – Piano Trio in C major, K 548. Leoš Janáček – 1.X.1905, “From the Street”. Josef Páleníček (1914–1991) – Chorale Variations. Miloslav Kabeláč (1908–1979) – Eight Preludes, Op. 30 (selection)
Martin Ballý – piano, Ars Trio: Martin Ballý – piano, Dana Vlachová – violin, Jan Páleníček – cello
Some legends remain concealed … The name Martin Ballý may be new to many, yet it is definitely worth remembering. Proof in this respect is given by the renowned pianists Jan Bartoš and Miroslav Sekera, his pupils, whose extraordinary art bears witness to Ballý’s outstanding qualities as a teacher. Yet the main testimony is Ballý’s own recordings, hitherto untouched and patiently waiting in the radio archives. His repertoire as a solo pianist centres on 20th-century Czech music: unrivalled interpretations of Janáček and Martinů works, mesmerising renditions of Kabeláč pieces. In his straightforward expressiveness, Ballý is not afraid to venture to the very limit of his instrument’s potential, but his tone remains radiant and colourful. Besides solo piano (his teachers included Josef Páleníček), Ballý devoted to chamber music (studying with the no less famous Josef Vlach). As a member of Ars Trio, his partners were children of the mentioned teachers, the violinist Dana Vlachová (today a member of the Czech Trio) and the cellist Jan Páleníček (now a member of the Smetana Trio). Their recordings feature gems of Czech trio music (Dvořák, Novák, Martinů) and two remarkable global repertoire creations (Shostakovich, Mozart). The majority of the recordings, dating from between 1980 and 1992, are from the Czech Radio archives and are now being released for the very first time. legends are well worth waiting for.
Martin Ballý and Ars Trio. Musicians and recordings richly deserving of rediscovery.