A fascinating snapshot of Dvořák from a Saxony festival

Chad Hoopes et al: The Dvořák Album (Moritzburg Festival)

The Strad Issue: September 2022

Description: A fascinating snapshot of Dvořák from a Saxony festival

Musicians: Chad Hoopes, Kevin Zhu (violins) Matthew Lipman (viola) Jan Vogler (cello) Juho Pohjonen, Tiffany Poon (piano)

Works: Dvořák: Piano Quartet no.2 in E flat major; Piano Trio in E minor ‘Dumky’; Scherzo (Terzetto in C major); Gypsy Song op.55 no.4 (arr. cello and piano); Humoresque op.101 no.7

Catalogue number: SONY CLASSICAL DDD 2021

This CD claims to tell the story of Dvořák’s chamber music, although it opens with the fourth of his Gypsy Songs arranged for cello and piano, played with appropriate feeling by Jan Vogler. A violent opening outburst to the E flat major Piano Quartet no.2 sets up playing of constant vivid contrasts and biting, hard-edged drama, leavened by passages of vibrato-rich warmth. The emotional energy is maintained in the Lento, from Vogler’s yearning opening melody through to the ferocious outbreak of C sharp minor. In the Allegro moderato the musicians evoke the schmaltzy world of Viennese coffee houses, and the finale offers a jaunty resolution to earlier tensions.

After the Scherzo from Dvořák’s Terzetto, with a graceful trio, comes the ‘Dumky’ Piano Trio. There is passion and fierce joy in the opening Lento maestoso, and the Poco adagio is mournfully elegiac. Vogler is to the fore here and in both the following movements, moulding his solos beautifully. Violinist Chad Hoopes brings vivid G-string tragedy to the final Lento maestoso. Throughout the trio, the switches between song and dance are finely done. The album ends with a dainty account of the seventh Humoresque from Tiffany Poon. The recorded sound is close and clear.