I would describe myself as a happy person yet the music I find I’m invariably drawn to is that which is serious even sombre. This mood taps into my soul more directly and helps me reflect on things more effectively. The mere title of this disc appealed to me straightaway.
Smetana poured his feelings of anguish into his piano trio; anguish caused by the death firstly from tuberculosis then scarlet fever of two of his four young daughters in one year (1854-55) with a third dying in 1856 aged only eight months. He was particularly hit by the death of four year old Bedřiška who was already musically talented. He sought solace in writing this most affecting trio quickly between September and November of 1855 immediately following Bedřiška’s death. Music is so much more able to express such deeply felt emotions than mere words can ever be. This explains why many novelists envy composers for that ability. Smetana’s sadness is almost palpable in this work which he subjected to two revisions. This final version is a cry from the heart to which everyone can readily respond.
The Eben Trio play all the works beautifully and when they are joined by Kristina Fialová (Terezie’s sister?) they become a very effective quartet. I’m sure we will hear more from these talented musicians.