During this Haydn bicentenary there will be many reissues and
new releases, but I can think of no better way of commemorating
the great man than this marvellous set of Piano Trios from the
Haydn Trio Eisenstadt (HTE).† They play this music as if it had
been made for them and this is a set I will enjoy again and again.
The Piano Trio has always struck me as something
of an odd-one-out genre: one step up from a sonata, but without
the strength of a quartet or quintet.† Wisely, the HTE make
no attempt to justify the genre: they just revel in what is
marvellously written music.† The blend among these three young
players is extraordinary.† As with the best chamber performers
one can sense them all moving to the same pulse, breathing and
playing as one.† They inhabit every nuance of Haydnís drama,
poignancy, pathos, humour and sheer love of life.† Not once
is there even a hint of a soloist going for glory; instead there
is mutual support, warmth and affection for this intimate musical
My only question is why this music is not
better known?† The trios contain all of the greatness that Haydn
made evident in his larger-scale works, only on a more intimate
scale.† All human life is here in these works.† One can find
endless things to marvel at, such as the majestic opening of
No. 27 in, or the strident drama of No. 19 (in G minor) or No.
12 (in E minor), both of which lead to profoundly beautiful
slow movements.† Or how about No. 37 in F which has a first
movement full of gentle restraint which then explodes into life
in its allegro second movement?† There is the pregnant expectation
of the first movement of No. 6 in F, or the quite majesty of
No. 29 in E flat.† I could go on, but thereís no need to.† The
riches here just go on and on.
The wonderful thing about having the complete
trios together in one set is that one can not only chart the
composerís development in the genre, but also feel the phases
that he moves through.† The booklet notes are excellent in this
regard: they explain clearly the three main periods in which
Haydn wrote Piano Trios and they enable the listener to sample
how he develops in each.† Furthermore, nearly ever trio has
its own little commentary thus guiding the listener through
it, if he wants.
Iím told, by those in the know, that the
Beaux Arts Trioís survey of this music is well nigh untouchable.†
I canít compare them as I havenít heard the Beaux Arts, but
one definite thing in favour of the HTE set is its bargain price
which is very attractive and invites the listener to explore
more readily than might otherwise have been the case.
There is little point in saying more about
this marvellous release.† This is delightful music, delightfully
played, and anyone who loves good music should buy it for the
endless pleasure it will give.