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Pfitzner & Smetana: Works for Piano Trio

Pfitzner & Smetana: Works for Piano Trio

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Hans Pfitzner (1869-1949) and Bedrich Smetana (1824-84) hold special places in music history as ardent nationalist composers and creators of significant stage works. Pfitzner’s operas and incidental music culminated in his Palestrina (1917) and Smetana established a canon of eight nationalist operas, incorporating traditional Czech dance and song into much of his mature oeuvre. Both composers also spread their net widely into other musical genres, contributing significantly, if not extensively, to the chamber music repertory. Although written over forty years apart, these two piano trios share notable common ground. Both were written during troubled times for their creators and count among their composer’s first mature artistic achievements; moreover, both resort to motivic recall or transformation between movements with the intention of realising structural unity and both received hostile critical receptions. [Robin Stowell]

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