Monday, May 28, 2018

Haydn: piano trio no. 44, Hob. XV:28 in E major

There is a lot of amazing music in the trios for piano, violin and cello of Joseph Haydn. I almost said "hidden away", but as they are all available in numerous versions on YouTube, not very hidden! But certainly not as well known as they might be. As we learn from the excellent liner notes accompanying the first Vivarte 60 CD box, the last three trios (as well as the last three piano sonatas) were written, in 1796, for the brilliant British pianist Therese Bartolozzi. All three are remarkable works. The first, in E flat major, goes so far afield harmonically as the key of C flat major in the first movement. The second, in E major, begins the first movement with the strings accompanying the fortepiano pizzicato. The slow movement, in E minor, begins with all instruments in a unison line, wanders into some strange territory and ends with a very unusual cadenza:

Click to enlarge
Haydn, it seems, just wasn't capable of writing a dull piece of music. The piano trios are full of unexpected delights. Here is the Trio no. 44 from the Vivarte collection with Robert Levin, fortepiano, Vera Beths, violin and Anner Bylsma, cello:

Here is a performance by the Van Swieten Trio from the Haydn Edition Box. The E major trio is the second one beginning at the 17:38 mark:

I think that we have so many good recordings of these pieces, even though they probably don't sell a lot of copies, because musicians are so fond of Haydn.

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