Originally formed in 1934 by pianist Josef Páleníček, the Smetana Trio has been one of the most outstanding Czech trios for more than 80 years. It was founded as a trio of musicians who were leading soloists in their own right, and that tradition is maintained to this day: Pianist Jitka Čechová has recorded Smetana’s complete piano works, Jiří Vodička is concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic, and cellist Jan Páleníček—a pupil of Paul Tortelier and Miloš Sádlo—is the son of the founder of the Smetana Trio. Their Phillips recital includes two early works by 20thcentury masters: Zemlinsky’s Piano Trio Op. 3 and Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 1. The concert ends with Mendelssohn’s gloriously melodious Piano Trio in D minor.
ALEXANDER VON ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942)
Piano Trio, Op. 3 (1895-1896)
Allegro ma non troppo
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8 (1923)
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49
Molto Allegro agitato
Andante con molto tranquillo
Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
Please note that this concert takes place at the Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Ave., NW.
The Smetana Trio, founded in 1934 by the legendary Czech pianist Josef Pálenícek, violinist Alexandr Plocek and cellist František Smetana, is today’s foremost Czech chamber ensemble. Currently comprised of pianist Jitka Cechová, violinist Jiří Vodička, and cellist Jan Pálenícek, the Smetana perpetuates the interpretational ideals created by its illustrious predecessors as well as other superlative 20th-century soloists active in chamber music. “There is nothing routine about the Smetana Trio’s approach to this engaging repertoire. Every aspect of their interpretation is carefully considered without losing an ounce of spontaneity. Individual lines are remarkable for their focus and beauty, though the powerful sense of ensemble is never sacrificed to individual display.” - BBC Music Magazine
In March 2015 the Trio released a recording of the complete trios by Bohuslav Martinů, and was chosen as BBC Music Magazine’s June 2016 Recording of the Month and selected as Sunday Times Recording of the Week, Diapason d'Or award. The website theArtsDesk.com remarked, “This is the greatest chamber disc I’ve heard in ages, and I can’t imagine a better introduction to Martinů's music.” Following a successful North American tour in April 2013, the Smetana Trio returned to the US in the 2014/2015 season with concerts presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Czech Center New York, Gettysburg Community Concert Association, and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In New York City the trio appeared at 92Y’s intimate downtown venue, SubCulture, for an evening of Czech music which included the New York premiere of Roman Haas’s Multicultural Suite for Piano Trio. In San Diego, the trio was joined by members of the San Diego Symphony for a special performance of Bruch’s rarely heard 8 Pieces for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano.
The Smetana Trio has toured extensively as both chamber music ensemble and orchestral soloists, working with conductors such as Jirí Belohlávek, Libor Pešek, John Axelrod, Michael Boder, Tomáš Hanus, and Stanislav Vavrínek and orchestras such as the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera italiana Lugano, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic, Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice, and the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc. Festivals and concert series include Cambrai, Aix-en-Provence and Nice in France, and Munich, Würzburg, and Tübingen in Germany. In 2015 the Smetana Trio toured South America with performances in Lima, Medellin, Rio de Janeiro, as well as a performance of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra.
With an extensive discography recorded exclusively for Supraphon since 2000, the group’s recordings include an album featuring the complete piano trios of Shostakovich and Ravel, and an all-Dvořák album which received BBC Music Magazine’s Chamber Award for 2007 and the French Diapason d'Or. Additional discs include works by Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, and Schubert.