The three compositions that the Smetana Trio has chosen for its next
recording were written within the span of just four years, but they represent
three different musical worlds.
The Piano Trio by Anton Arensky recalls the atmosphere of bourgeois musical
salons of the nineteenth century, where music was played for the pleasure of
polite society. The composition by the twenty-five-year-old Alexander Zemlinsky
represents the arrival of the search for new sounds and harmonies. The
one-movement trio by the nineteen-year-old piano virtuoso and composer Sergei
Rachmaninov exhibits that nobly elegiac quality that would become characteristic
of the future works of the world-famous musician. Anton Arensky’s short life
was marred by mental illness, while the lives of Zemlinsky and Rachmaninov were
struck by external circumstances – they died within a year of each other
while far from their homelands in the United States. With élan and commitment
all its own, the internationally acclaimed Smetana Trio is presenting three
noteworthy compositions of the late nineteenth century.
Supraphon will release the album on CD and digital formats on
29 March 2019.
A TALK WITH THE PIANIST JITKA ČECHOVÁ ABOUT THE NEW SMETANA TRIO
Jitka, what enchanted you about these three unassuming chamber music
gems of the late nineteenth century, leading you to choose them for the new
Smetana Trio album?
All three trios conceal related emotional features. They are charged with
emotions and tender themes, full of hope alternating with elegiac nostalgia,
with the end of an amazing epoch within sight. Each of the composers speaks his
own language, and yet we clearly sense that the works were created during the
same era – actually within the span of just four years, from 1892 to ’96.
This post-Romantic music is loaded with wonderful opportunities for free
expression for all three instruments, and that was what attracted and inspired
our trio from the moment we began studying these works. Arensky and Rachmaninov
shared a common devotion to their musical idol – Pyotr Ilyich
Tchaikovsky – and they let themselves be carried away on a wave of the most
precious melodiousness and boundless expressiveness supported by colourful
harmonies. The same thing applies to Zemlinsky with his predilection for
polyphony. His music is often full of canons, and it builds up gradually to an
almost orchestral kind of writing that evokes something of a Brahmsian sound.
These are truly gems of chamber music, overshadowed somewhat by big Romantic
canvasses, but they are deserving of our maximum attention. We hope our
recording will contribute towards their full-fledged incorporation into the
What interesting events are awaiting the Smetana Trio by the end of
We just got back from another amazing, enormously successful tour of the USA and
Canada, where we had the chance to present Rachmaninov and Arensky along with
Czech music. Now we can gradually start getting ready for and looking forward to
another tour next year, and some of the concert presenters from this
year’s tour want to participate again. Towards the end of the season, there
are other tasks awaiting our Smetana Trio, with a number of concerts around the
Czech Republic and two trips to England, during which we will be returning to
London’s famed Wigmore Hall. Then in the summer we’re going back to South
America, in the midst of which there will be two concerts in the prestigious
Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But that almost rolls us over into
next season, which start right off in September again in a southern vein, but
this time the south of Europe, with concerts first in Spain and soon afterwards
in Italy. Simply put, something’s going on all the time, and we constantly
have something to look forward to. What more could we ask for?