Many of us have several recordings of the Dvorák piano quintets, Opp. 5 & 81, including the incandescent one with Sviatoslav Richter and the Borodin String Quartet. Here's a new one with an underrated Czech pianist, Ivan Klánskż, and the successor to the 'old' Vlach Quartet, headed by Josef Vlach's daughter, Jana Vlachova. I well remember hearing Klánskż in an electrifying Beethoven Fourth Concerto and have wondered why he isn't recorded more; maybe this recording will lead to others. The new Vlach Quartet seems to be recording most of the Dvorák string chamber music for Naxos; they had previously recorded for labels like Supraphon. And I treasure a recording of the delightful Arriaga quartets on the obscure Avenira label. Kudos to Naxos for giving them the opportunity to record music from their homeland; surely this music is in their blood. It sure sounds like it.
The first quartet, Op. 5, in A major just like its much later successor, is a very early work, and not very often played in concert. It is, indeed, rather generic, if you can called skilfully composed music in the style of Schumann generic. What I mean is it doesn't immediately sound like Dvorák. But wait! When we get to the third movement something happens and it begins sounding like the 'nationalistic' Dvorak, or at least like the Brahms of the piano quartets. Rollicking tempo, catchy tunes, folk-inflected music. Ah, yes.
As for the very familiar second Quintet, I would say that this recording can definitely hold its own with other well-known recordings, even the Richter/Borodin one. The dumky movement, particularly, is so sweetly melancholy that it almost brings a tear to the eye. The finale just about jumps out of your speakers it's so spirited.
Yes, these are good performances caught in lifelike sound. And then there's the Naxos price . . .