second part of the 18th century saw increasing popularity for
the trio for keyboard and two melody instruments. Joseph Haydn
contributed considerably to the development of this genre with
his trios for keyboard, violin and cello. Whereas in his early
trios the violin has a relatively important part to play –
Haydn usually played that part himself - gradually the keyboard
became the dominating instrument, reducing the violin and cello
to merely accompanying roles.
Haydn composed only three trios for keyboard
with flute and cello. In his chamber music the transverse flute
doesn't play an important role. The fact that most of his chamber
music with flute is connected in one way or another with England
is no coincidence. The flute was a very popular instrument there
in the last decades of the century.
It was on request of the English publisher John
Bland that Haydn composed the three trios recorded here. Although
they are intended to be played by amateurs and are primarily diverting
in character, they all contain passages in a somewhat dark mood,
and here and there one can even find moments of drama, like the
general pause in the first movement of the trio in D. There are
some melancholic elements in the andante movements of the Trios
in D and G as well. The most cheerful of the three is the one
in F, whose entertaining character is reflected by the fact that
it consists of only two movements - a feature of many diverting
pieces in the classical period - but even here the first movement
contains less cheerful moments.
In general the interpretation by Camerata Köln
is very good. The entertaining character comes through very well.
I have the feeling, though, that the darker aspects are not fully
exploited. The general pause in the first movement of the trio
in D could have been handled with a little more boldness, and
I also think that the dynamic contrasts could have been bolder.
And considering the fact that these trios have been composed for
publication in England, and therefore primarily for English players,
the use of a fortepiano with English action had been a more obvious
choice than the copy of a Stein fortepiano used here.
The Trios for two flutes were written during
Haydn's second stay in England, and were intended to be played
by two aristocrats who were avid flute players. They get the most
important roles to play. These trios are characterised by a delightful
interaction between the two flutes, and Michael Schneider and
Karl Kaiser are most eloquent performers. The cello is reduced
to a supporting role most of the time, but Rainer Zipperling makes
the most of it.
In short, this is a fine recording of some very
entertaining and at times compelling music. But then, how could
Haydn ever disappoint? He once said: "In instrumental music
my pure musical fantasies are usually given free rein". This
disc is ample evidence of Haydn's inexhaustible musical fantasies.
Johan van Veen