Dvořák's Hidden Depths

The superb playing on this recording uncovers layers of hitherto unexplored profundity

Composer: Dvořák

Repertoire: Piano Quintet, Love Songs, Cypresses
Artists: Christoph Eschenbach (pf), Adriana Kučerová (sop), Thymos Quartet
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Chamber

Label: Challenge Classics CC72530

The Music: An engaging programme that offsets the captivatingly tuneful Piano Quintet with 13 inspired songs, six of them transcribed for string quartet as Cypresses, the others sung in their original form for soprano and piano. 

The Performances: Christoph Eschenbach has won acclaim as a conductor in recent years, yet he started out as one of the finest pianists of his generation. He is still a magnificent player, as witness his ability to make Dvořák’s occasionally awkward piano writing sound like spun silk. Some may find Adriana Kučerová’s impassioned eloquence a shade overpowering for such innocent miniatures, and even the Thymos Quartet’s deeply committed playing can’t quite disguise Cypresses’s vocal provenance. However, the Quintet sounds utterly enchanting in this gloriously unhurried reading. 

The Verdict: These searching performances reveal hidden depths that often lie obscured under a cosy veneer of outdoor exuberance. 

Want More? Those wishing to explore Dvořák’s songs further should seek out Bernarda Fink’s exemplary recital (Harmonia Mundi, HMC 901824).