Charming, and with a typically Slavic flavour, Dvořák’s “Dumky” Trio was his fourth and final piano trio. Its highly original six-movement structure is cast as a sequence of six dumkas, the dumka being a genre borrowed from Slavic folk music, thoughtful and melancholic in character, in which fast and elegiac tempi alternate. Dvořák’s music is thus by turns pensive, passionate, a lullaby, a dance and a feverish outpouring.
“It runs gigantically and in a large mood,” Elgar wrote to his friend, the organist Ivor Atkins, in March 1919, midway through composing his Piano Quintet. One of his most substantial chamber scores, it consists of three movements, the emotional heart of which is its central Adagio, opening with a grand viola cantilena. This is framed by a Brahmsian Moderato-Allegro first movement and an energetic Finale. According to Elgar’s wife, the Moderato-Allegro was inspired by a legend surrounding three trees near the composer’s Sussex cottage, which were said to be the remains of three sacrilegious monks who had been struck by lightning….