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Haydn: Piano Trios Vol 1 / Mendelssohn Piano Trio

Haydn / Sirotin /Thompson / Chang
Release Date: 03/13/2012 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 3126   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mendelssohn Piano Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HAYDN Piano Trios: in B?, H. XV:8; in f, H. XV:f1; in E?, H. XV 36; in D, H. XV:24; in A, H. XV:35; in G, H. XV:25 Mendelssohn Pn Trio CENTAUR 3126 (73:05)


One might be forgiven for assuming that any complete series of works by a single composer might be presented sequentially, but I have been through enough sets of the Beethoven piano sonatas (and even sets of the five Beethoven piano concertos) where the record companies Read more seem to think that people enjoy hearing works out of the sequence in which they were written. Thus we have on this Vol. 1 trios written before and during the 1760s, but also trios written in 1784 and 1795. The performances are certainly very fine, but me, I’m a stickler for chronology if you’re doing a complete set of something. Yet this is covered in the liner notes, lauding the Mendelssohn Trio’s “effort to honor effective programming rather than chronological order.”


The performances themselves are modern classical style, which is to say brisk and regular in tempo with no rubato or tempo modifications in the fast movements. In the minuets and andantes , a certain amount of rubato is correctly used. Now, in music from this period it has certainly become more acceptable to play chamber works in this style, and I find that this approach works wonders in the cases of Mozart and J. C. Bach, whose music takes on a rather cloying character when played the other way, but I’ve always felt that because Haydn’s melodic lines were never as conventionally “pretty” as Mozart’s or his rhythms as comfortable in a strict-tempoed format, I prefer Haydn’s music to be played in a slightly irregular rhythm, which is one reason why I prefer the symphonies as conducted by Adam Fischer to the complete set conducted by Antál Doráti. On the other hand, I respect the fact that thousands of listeners prefer Doráti’s approach to Fischer’s, otherwise there wouldn’t be a market for the Doráti set. (I’m sure that some of my readers, knowing my admiration for Arturo Toscanini, are wondering why I feel this way, but with the exception of the “Surprise” Symphony, which he conducted much too quickly, careful listening will show that Toscanini also conducted Haydn in a less regular, slightly more rugged manner than Mozart.)


One can certainly not argue with the Mendelssohn Trio’s virtuosic command of the instruments or its zestful approach to this music. The allegros are as bracing as a breath of crisp winter air, enlivening and rejuvenating in a way that earlier performances were not. Yet I still have a hankering for the recordings by the wonderful Beaux Arts Trio, specifically because of the light, slightly piquant timbre of Daniel Guilet’s violin and the playful, whimsical playing of pianist Menaham Pressler. Thus if you ask my opinion of the Mendelssohn Trio’s playing, I would pronounce it superb and bracing, but if you ask me whether I prefer this style in Haydn, I would have to say not necessarily—but I’d be absolutely thrilled to hear this trio play Mozart. If your taste runs toward bracing performances of Haydn, then, you cannot go wrong with this CD, and I’d certainly keep my eye out for the succeeding volumes in this series.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G major, H 15 no 25 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mendelssohn Piano Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 
2.
Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F minor, H 15 no f1 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mendelssohn Piano Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1760; Austria 
3.
Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E flat major, H 15 no 36 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mendelssohn Piano Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1774; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
4.
Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in D major, H 15 no 24 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mendelssohn Piano Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 
5.
Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in B flat major, H 15 no 8 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mendelssohn Piano Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1785; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
6.
Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in A major, H 15 no 35 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mendelssohn Piano Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1771; Eszterhazá, Hungary 

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