Dvořák’s piano trios belong among the highlights of his chamber music. The first two are influenced by the Romantic tradition and show the composer’s ability to create rich melodies and harmonies while the third trio is darker and more dramatic, reflecting Dvořák’s personal crisis after his mother’s death. The fourth trio, known as Dumky, is an original piece combining folk music elements with a sophisticated form. The complete recordings by the excellent pianist, Boris Giltburg, and two principal members of the Pavel Haas Quartet, Veronika and Peter Jarůšek, is one of this year’s most keenly awaited new classical albums. It will be released by Supraphon on 2 CDs and in digital formats on 22 September 2023.
While London was celebrating the coronation of Charles III, this recording was being made under the supervision of the legendary British producer, Andrew Keener, in the beautiful Wye Valley on the border of England and Wales. Boris Giltburg says: “We spent six days recording at Wyastone Leys, which is special due to its great acoustics. It is also an inspiring place, especially if you think of Dvořák, whose music is strongly connected with nature – of course not with the English landscape, but still, hills and valleys are hills and valleys, no matter what country they are in. There were no distractions, so we could focus only on the music.”
Violinist Veronika Jarůšková comments on working with Boris Giltburg: “It is very powerful if a man can play tenderly, showing his vulnerability and not his ego and masculinity. Boris is capable of such tenderness that you feel as if you were floating on a cloud.”
The Pavel Haas Quartet already collaborated with Boris Giltburg in 2017, when they recorded Dvořák’s quintets, for which they later received the Gramophone Chamber Award. That is where the incredible interplay of these three musicians comes from. They all have brilliant technique and breathe together as if they were a single being. Cellist Peter Jarůšek recalls: “Veronika and I thought it would be interesting to play with Boris as a trio but we had never said it aloud. Then in 2018, Boris asked us to take part in his project at the Flagey in Brussels, where this collaboration started to unfold. Another impulse was the Dvořák Prague Festival asking Boris to become curator of Dvořák’s complete piano trios and he approached us. That was when Boris and us fell in love with Dvořák’s trios. Dumky is a remarkable piece but when we discovered two of his early trios, we found out that in fact these compositions are a beautiful journey through Dvořák’s life.”
Dumky is one of Antonín Dvořák’s famous pieces as well as one of the most frequently recorded chamber music compositions in general. It is known that Leoš Janáček, sitting with the composer by the piano after a concert, praised this trio with apt brevity typical of him: “A new source of light has shined.” The Piano Trio in F minor was referred to by the famous Viennese critic, Eduard Hanslick, as putting Dvořák into the company of “the best modern masters.” However, Dvořák’s first two piano trios are performed very rarely.
“We share this kind of obsession with whatever we are doing with such passion and love. Our recording radiates great warmth and real joy. Chamber music just doesn‘t get any better than that,“ says Boris Giltburg about the new album made with his musical soul mates from Prague.