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Ignaz Joseph PLEYEL (1757-1831)
Hidden Gems Vol. 3 - Piano Trios
Sonate aus Trois Sonates pour le Clavecin ou Piano-Forté avec accompagnement de Violon et Violoncelle:
F Major, (1790) Ben 437 [20:48]
G Major, (1790) Ben 438 [19:22]
E flat Major, (1790) Ben 439 [17:37]
IPG Pleyel Klaviertrio
rec. Taufkirche, Ruppersthal, Austria, 28-30 June 2015
ARS PRODUCTIONS ARS38203 SACD [60:26]

My entry into the world of Pleyel came through his string quartets, with both his Prussian Quartets on CPO and his Op. 2 quartets on Naxos. These show the influence of his teachers, Joseph Baptist Vanhal and Joseph Haydn, but also a compositional skill which made me want to investigate further. This led me to his symphonies which again show great charm and ability. Pleyel's a composer worth exploring.

Born in the small town of Ruppersthal in the wine-growing region of Lower Austria, Ignaz Joseph Pleyel could be said to suffer from the Mozart effect, in that he and his music has been neglected in favour of his more famous compatriot. This despite his music being very attractive and pleasing to the listener. Yes, he could be said to be derivative at times, but he also shows great sparks of originality. It seems that these days he is best remembered as an innovator in the design and manufacture of the piano, one of which, dating from the year before Pleyel’s death, is used in this recording.

All three of the featured trios date from 1790, in a series which ARS have entitles ‘Hidden Gems’, an epithet that they deserve. The first trio featured on this disc is in F Major and shows the greatest influence of Haydn. You could easily believe that you were listening to an unknown work by the master, especially in the first movement Allegro molto. The second trio on the disc is in G Major has a beautifully mellifluous second movement Andante grazioso, whilst the final Rondo points to a master of the idiom. The third trio is in E flat Major and is the most original of the three. One could even say that it points the way towards Beethoven. Unlike the other trios, it is the most original of the three. It is cast in only two movements: the first, Allegro con fuoco reminds us that Pleyel spanned both the Classical as well as the Romantic periods, especially in its development of thematic material.

The playing of the IPG Pleyel Klaviertrio, who performs on original instruments throughout, is excellent. There is a real sense that this is an ensemble that gets enjoyment from playing this lovely music. One of the real stars to emerge here is the piano, or to give it its true title, Hammerflügel Ignaz Pleyel, Opus 1614, from 1830. The instrument has been expertly captured by the engineers and well balanced with the violin and cello. The booklet notes are excellent too; both informative and helpful. I look forward to further releases in this series.

Stuart Sillitoe



 

 




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