26 Nov 2023

NZTrio - 'Dumky'

From Music Alive, 8:00 pm on 26 November 2023

NZTrio brings us the final in their three-concert 'Homeland' series in which they explore the ways that composers connect with a location – often their own place of birth.


NZTrio Photo: Jennifer Raoult

In this concert in the Auckland Concert Chamber, NZTrio plays music by Swiss-American Ernest Bloch, the Czechs Vítězslav Novák and Antonin Dvořák, Frank Martin – another Swiss – and New Zealander Ross Harris.

Dvořák was a common link between all three 'Homeland' concerts – each has contained one of his piano trios, and in this concert we have his last in the genre – definitely his most famous – and the work that gives this concert its individual title: ‘Dumky’.

The well-known ‘Dumky’ and a brand new work by Ross Harris fill the second half and the first half shows NZTrio in their exploratory nature, seeking out music to tantalise us. On this occasion, three works all written in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Ernest BLOCH: Three Nocturnes

Written in 1924 during Bloch's American period. Charlotte Wilson, in her programme notes, describes them nicely: "The first is impressionistic, painterly ... with exotic scales and ethereal sonorities; the second is a gorgious lullaby with the flavour of a folk song, and the third is muscular and driving."

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Vítězslav NOVÁK: Piano Trio No 2, Quasi una ballata

Novák became a student of Dvořák's at the Prague Conservatory briefly, just before the older composer left for his position in New York. Dvořák had enough time to realise that the young man was a talented composer rather than a performer and set him on a path similar to his own in which the folk music of Bohemia was a foundation.

But Novák was also becoming interested in new music trends. Both the traditional and the new are evident in this sombre and dramatic one movement work from 1902, subtitled "almost a ballade".

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Frank MARTIN: Trio on Irish Folk Melodies

This work from 1925 was commissioned by an American amateur musician that Martin met in Paris. The commissioner did not like what they got - evidently they expected something way more conventional.

Charlotte Wilson writes: "[Martin] uses at least ten authentic Irish tunes, all brilliantly woven together and on top of each other to make this gorgeous, moving, tuneful tapestry, lilting and colourful, saturated with the spirit of the dance."

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Ross HARRIS: Prendre ses rêves pour des réalités

The composer writes:

"Prendre ses rêves pour des réalités is a piece of music which has some of the qualities of a dream. Musical ideas come and go like images in a day dream – with or without continuity or logic. Moments follow each other. The title translates approximately as 'Let your dreams be your reality'."

This is a new work commissioned for this concert by NZTrio.

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Antonin DVOŘÁK: Piano Trio No 4 in E minor Op 90, Dumky

'Dumky' is the plural of 'dumka', a form that Dvořák used regularly, which is based on Ukrainian folk laments.

This work, the last and most well-known of his four piano trios, is a set of six dumky, each starting with a melancholy opening section followed by faster, dance-like sections.

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Recorded by RNZ Concert, Auckland Concert Chamber, 26 November 2023
Producer: Tim Dodd
Engineer: Adrian Hollay

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