The Florestan Trio is one of Britian’s best-loved chamber groups, and its many Hyperion recordings are routinely acclaimed as benchmark versions of the repertoire. After delighting listeners and critics with two discs of Dvořák, the ensemble now further explores the Czech piano trio repertoire.
The three works on this CD cover the complete span of what is usually thought of as the Czech school of composition.
Smetana, regarded as the founding father, first showed the way to bring traditional dance and song into the mainstream of European composition, forging a national style. Eben, who died in 2007, was one of the most distinguished composers who carried this line to the present day. But, as these three contrasting pieces demonstrate, Czech composers were subject to very different kinds of influence at different times. Smetana’s Piano Trio, an early work, shows more influence from the mainstream giants of the time—particularly Schumann and Liszt—than it does from any ‘folk’ elements. By the time Martinu wrote his first Piano Trio, he was immersed in the exciting cosmopolitan culture of twentieth-century Paris. And Petr Eben took the neoclassicism of Martinu and his contemporaries, and developed his own individual approach to it.