Dvorˇák at His Best

And inventive and charming too!

Composer: Dvorˇák
Repertoire: Piano Quintet in A, Op.81; Bagatelles, Op.47
Artists: Frank Braley (piano), Ensemble Explorations
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Instrumental
Label: Harmonia Mundi HMC 901880

Why is it that a composer can write great tunes, but not himself be considered a great? Dvorˇák’s wide-ranging output is quite simply packed full of memorable melodies that have a happy knack of staying with you. Take these bagatelles – neither overly complex nor difficult, but still inventive, charming and full of humour – intended for friends and harmonium players! The Piano Quintet is without doubt Dvorˇák at his best and is seized upon by Ensemble Explorations with terrific energy. Mindful of Dvorˇák’s more reflective and sombre parts, the Ensemble delivers a less bright tone to offer a wholly lyrical presentation.