Picks and Pans Review: Schubert: Trios Nos. 1 in B Flat and 2 in E Flat
By its nature, the traditional trio format of violin, cello and piano makes for intimate, enthralling music. The marriage of instruments—of bowed and struck strings—is one of the loveliest in music, capable of great contrast or of the most angelic blending. With no instrument duplicated, each voice occupies its own space, clearly delineating the harmonies and counterpoint. Dvorák's trios brim with the rich folk melodies and dance rhythms of his native Czechoslovakia, deeply emotional, often elegiac, with the G Minor possessing an especially forthright eloquence. The Dumky gets its name from the dumka, a form of Slavonic folk music in which mournful and jubilant sections alternate. Dvorák finds an abundance of meaning in these juxtapositions; the piece resembles a musical essay on the verities of life. Schubert's trios usher in a world of anguish and bliss, longing and fulfillment, all rendered with consummate craft, elegance and flashes of fantasy unique to the composer. The West German Odeon—Kurt Guntner, violin; Angelika May, cello; Leonard Hokanson, piano—play with relish and rapport, artfully illuminating both composers.