Notes and Editorial Reviews
Trio in B?,
op. 11, “Gassenhauer Trio.”
Trio in B?,
Trio in E?
Dieter Klöcker (cl); Guido Schiefen (vc); Olaf Dressler (pn)
cpo 777 224 (68:26)
By the end of the 18th century, Beethoven had written most of his chamber music for winds, and classical music was about to embark on another
journey that would take it far from the world of the music of Mozart, Haydn, and their contemporaries. Just as Mozart’s quintet for piano and winds would influence Beethoven’s music for the same combination of instruments, Beethoven’s op. 11 would bear its own offspring, including trios by Beethoven’s patron and pupil, Archduke Rudolph, and Eduard von Lannoy. Where Beethoven proved successful in emulating the Mozart piano quintet, both the Archduke and Lannoy succeeded in their attempts to model their trios after Beethoven.
However, one must be cautious here, for even though both compositions are by men whose abilities are far from meager, their works never approach the level of inspiration or craft found in Beethoven. Beethoven’s works seem to have had an almost paralytic effect on a number of his contemporaries; those who dared go toe-to-toe with him did so with much caution and to a greater or lesser degree took an entirely different direction. It is fitting that the works on this CD are from the inner circle of Beethoven and also that of the Archduke.
The composition of music had a long and somewhat distinguished tradition in the Habsburg line and via his association with Beethoven, Archduke Rudolph (1788–1831) is certainly its best-known practitioner. Eduard von Lannoy (1787–1853) was descended from an old Flemish noble family, and is unquestionably the least-known of the composers represented on the cpo release. For most of the last half-century of his life, Lannoy lived and worked in Vienna where he—like the Archduke—was on the board of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Lannoy also maintained close ties with the court, and therefore certainly had the opportunity to become acquainted with the Archduke’s chamberlain, Count Troyer, who was an exceptional clarinetist.
The works by Rudolph and Lannoy are far from low-calorie Beethoven; they are well written with satisfying parts for each of the participants. Two of the three works conclude in the same manner, i.e., with a series of variations on a melody from another source. Archduke Rudolph employed a tune quilled by Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and Beethoven used an aria, “Pria ch’io l’mpegno,” from Joseph Weigl’s opera
. This resulted in the trio acquiring the subtitle “Gassenhauer,” referring to Beethoven’s use of a melody whose popularity transcended the stage.
This is another of those tantalizing releases from Dieter Klöcker and two of his colleagues from Consortium Classicum, the ensemble Klöcker established some four decades ago. With the passage of time, some of the personnel have changed, but the one constant has been a standard of musicianship that is seldom equaled and rarely surpassed. Two words that immediately come to mind when evaluating this release are “eloquence” and “spontaneity,” and both are present in abundance here, serving the cause of Beethoven and his colleagues quite well. Ensemble is keen, but relaxed, and the listener can’t help but notice both the fundamental beauty of tone and the musicians’ excellent sense of line.
These technically adept and sensitive recordings sparkle with enthusiasm, exhibit ardor for the repertoire, and shouldn’t be avoided by any lover of either the era or chamber music.
FANFARE: Michael Carter
Works on This Recording
Clarinet Trio in B flat major, Op. 11, "Gassenhauer", "Piano Trio No. 4": I. Allegro con brio
Clarinet Trio in B flat major, Op. 11, "Gassenhauer", "Piano Trio No. 4": II. Adagio
Clarinet Trio in B flat major, Op. 11, "Gassenhauer", "Piano Trio No. 4": III. Allegretto
Clarinet Trio in B flat major, Op. 15: I. Allegro
Clarinet Trio in B flat major, Op. 15: II. Adagio espressivo
Clarinet Trio in B flat major, Op. 15: III. Menuetto: Allegro molto
Clarinet Trio in B flat major, Op. 15: IV. Rondo: Allegretto grazioso
Clarinet Trio in E flat major: I. Allegro moderato
Clarinet Trio in E flat major: II. Scherzo: Allegretto
Clarinet Trio in E flat major: III. Larghetto - Theme con Variazioni uber ein Thema von Prinz Louis Ferdinand von Preussen - Coda
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