Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Piano Trio No.39 in G major Hob XV:25 [16:13]
Piano Trio No.18 in G major Hob XV:5 [14:09]
Piano Trio No.28 in D major Hob XV:16 [14:02]
Piano Trio No.23 in E flat major Hob XV:10 [9:22]
Jean Fournier (violin); Antonio Janigro (cello); Paul Badura-Skoda (piano)
PRISTINE AUDIO XR PACM 070 [53:56]
I note - it’s a pompous start but bear with me - that Pristine Audio has had the first-rate idea to delve into the discography of the Fournier - Janigro - Badura-Skoda trio. Of the threesome it’s Fournier who’s the least well remembered but the elegant Frenchman, older brother of the more famous Pierre - who himself played in stellar chamber groups, not least taking Casals’ place alongside Thibaud and Cortot - made a raft of interesting trio and solo recordings well worthy of restoration. Janigro’s career as a cellist and later conductor is quite well documented on CD, whilst Badura-Skoda’s eminence still continues to be admired in recital and on disc.
PA has already released a number of their collaborations on Westminster; Brahms, the Beethoven Archduke, Mozart and Schubert. The repertoire may be standard but the performances are good and the reproduction here, via excellent, clean pressings and equally good engineering by the PA team, alerts one to the richness of the mid to late 1950s catalogues.
The trio was relatively well entrenched by the time these recordings were made. Around the same time, in addition - as collectors will know - the two string players recorded the Brahms Double Concerto with Scherchen. An earlier effort with the two Fournier brothers conducted in wartime by Bigot, was never issued. Perhaps PA can be persuaded to release the cycle of Beethoven sonatas that Jean Fournier recorded with his wife Ginette Doyen?
The performances, as I say, are fine ones, refined, elegant and songful, and enhanced by the Gallic portamenti of Fournier, Janigro’s august rapport and the sympathetic tonal allure of the pianist. This is especially true of the central movement of the G major Trio [Hob XV:25] even if its finale’s ebullience is somewhat held in check. Precision and elegance does not mean that trenchancy is ignored, as the finale of the companion G major [Hob XV:5] plainly shows. There’s a good sense of anticipation and eager development in the Allegro of the D major too. Badura-Skoda’s articulation in the same trio’s central movement is refined and prefaces Fournier’s sensuous legato; fine dynamics, a romanticised impress.
In fact this welcome retrieval brings back to the catalogue an unjustly overlooked trio whose collaborations merit admiration. The copies used for transfer are extremely clean and sound terrific in this restoration.
This welcome retrieval brings back to the catalogue an unjustly overlooked trio whose collaborations merit admiration.