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Phoenix Edition


Josef HAYDN (1732-1809)
Complete Piano Trios (no details provided)
Haydn Trio Eisenstadt
rec. no details provided
[8 CDs: 9:40:00]
Experience Classicsonline

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 feast. 

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.

Simon Thompson


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