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Beethoven: String Trios, Piano Trios, Quintet, Sextets & Octet / L'Archibudelli


Release Date: 06/10/2016 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 796262  
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenGirolamo FrescobaldiBartolemé de Selma y SalaverdeGiovanni Bassano,   ... 
Performer:  William PurvisAyako OshimaCharles NeidichStewart Rose,   ... 
Conductor:  Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  MozzafiatoL'Archibudelli
Number of Discs: 5 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some the original recordings that make up this set:

Beethoven composed the Octet, Op. 103 and Rondino, WoO25 sometime around 1792 and, although it was published separately, there is evidence to suggest that the Rondino was originally intended as the fourth movement of a five-movement work. Such is the view taken by the Classical Winds (Amon Ra) whose interpretation sounds convincing in a performance that effectively balances the music's emotional moods. By contrast, Mozzafiato play the Rondino after the Octet, suggesting that the Presto finale was written to replace the Rondino.

Both groups play on period instruments, but Mozzafiato's robust, full-bodied tone-quality creates a warmer,
Read more more broadly conceived result than the Classical Winds' hard, incisive edge: the oboe and bassoon solos which open the Andante second movement sound heavenly; the Minuet and Trio is cheerfully witty; a more flexible approach to the Presto finale produces a heightened dramatic effect and, in the Rondino, they deliciously reveal the music's textural diversity.

The differences between these two groups are even more pronounced in the Sextet, Op. 71. The Classical Winds' raw-edged tone and a tendency to slightly slower tempos give their version arelatively static quality in comparison to Mozzafiato's youthful freshness. Neidich's clarinet playing, in particular, is absolutely stupendous in this piece and his mellifluous virtuosity, especially in the faster outer movements, is well matched by the other performers to demonstrate this group's fine soloist skills as well as their strong corporate identity. Enchanting performances of the March, WoO29 and the Duo for clarinet and bassoon, WoO27 No. 1 complete Mozzafiato's delightful and immensely enjoyable concert.

-- GRAMOPHONE

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The name explains all: archi is the Italian for bows and budella for gut strings. Centred around Anner Bylsma, this is an ensemble with "a special love for historical stringed instruments" so the booklet tells us, with the additional information that Bylsma himself plays a Gianfrancesco Pressenda cello of 1835 alongside the 1727 Stradivari violin of Vera Beths and the 1785 William Forster viola of Jürgen Kussmaul. Their distinctive, slightly reedy timbre certainly takes you back in imagination to days of yore when string trios were more often heard in stately homes than in large concert-halls.

Just in case any reader at this point might be fearing bespectacled pedantry, let me hasten to say that the playing could scarcely be more sprightly and volatile. At times I even wondered if these artists were over-immediate in response to every passing dot, dash and dynamic nuance. Now and again I felt Beethoven needed less impressionably malleable, more firmly drawn, classical lines. But that said, they communicate their own relish of the music enough to make nonsense of the charge that he was 'unenthusiastic' about the string trio medium. Once again—as with the splendid Mutter/Giuranna/Rostropovich 1989 DG recording of the complete trios—I found myself thinking that even if nothing else had come from his pen but these early works, he would still have been hailed as a genius.

As in Beethoven's even earlier set of piano trios, so again here it is the third in C minor that most clearly pre-echoes things to come. The players convey its urgency through very brisk tempos, strong dynamic contrast and pungent accentuation as well as warming to the slow movement's fuller texture enough to explain why after this work Beethoven did in fact move on to the sphere of the string quartet. The first G major Trio, in contrast, is all light and joy—despite the bite of their accents. But busy figuration from the lower strings in the course of the finale is allowed to sound scrub-brushy as well as bottom-heavy. In the suaver No, 2 in D, I thought the third movement too fast for a Menuetto, with insufficient rhythmic definition behind its teasing opening phrase (the latter is also true of the equally teasing last two bars of the finale's leading theme). But this movement, and even more the Andante, allows us to enjoy Bylsma's cello as never before. The recorded tone is forward but true.

-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [9/1992]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Octet for Winds in E flat major, Op. 103 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  William Purvis (French Horn), Ayako Oshima (Clarinet), Charles Neidich (Clarinet),
Stewart Rose (French Horn), Dennis Godburn (Bassoon), Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon),
Marc Schachman (Oboe), Gerard Reuter (Oboe)
Conductor:  Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozzafiato
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1792-93; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts and Letters NY 
Length: 22 Minutes 12 Secs. 
2.
Rondino for Wind Octet in E flat major, WoO 25 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Charles Neidich (Clarinet), Ayako Oshima (Clarinet), Dennis Godburn (Bassoon),
Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon), William Purvis (French Horn), Stewart Rose (French Horn),
Marc Schachman (Oboe), Gerard Reuter (Oboe)
Conductor:  Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozzafiato
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts and Letters NY 
Length: 7 Minutes 25 Secs. 
3.
March for 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons and 2 Horns in B flat major, WoO 29 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Ayako Oshima (Clarinet), Dennis Godburn (Bassoon), William Purvis (French Horn),
Stewart Rose (French Horn), Charles Neidich (Clarinet), Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozzafiato
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts and Letters NY 
Length: 1 Minutes 15 Secs. 
4.
Duets (3) for Clarinet and Bassoon, WoO 27: no 1 in C major by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozzafiato
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810-1815; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts and Letters NY 
Length: 12 Minutes 59 Secs. 
5.
Sextet for 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns and 2 Bassoons in E flat major, Op. 71 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Dennis Godburn (Bassoon), Charles Neidich (Clarinet), Ayako Oshima (Clarinet),
William Purvis (French Horn), Stewart Rose (French Horn), Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozzafiato
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts and Letters NY 
Length: 19 Minutes 23 Secs. 
6.
Sextet for 2 Horns and Strings in E flat major, Op. 81b by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Vera Beths (Violin), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Knut Hasselmann (French Horn),
Ab Koster (French Horn), Anner Bylsma (Cello), Lucy Van Dael (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1795; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1991 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Gemeente Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 17 Minutes 24 Secs. 
7.
Duet for Viola and Cello in E flat major, WoO 32 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anner Bylsma (Cello), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1991 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Gemeente Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 
8.
Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 3 in G major, Op. 9 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Vera Beths (Violin), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1991 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Gemeente Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 24 Minutes 56 Secs. 
9.
Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 4 in D major, Op. 9 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Vera Beths (Violin), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1991 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Gemeente Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 21 Minutes 50 Secs. 
10.
Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 5 in C minor, Op. 9 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anner Bylsma (Cello), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Vera Beths (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1991 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Gemeente Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 21 Minutes 33 Secs. 
11.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 5 in D major, Op. 70 no 1 "Ghost" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Jos van Immerseel (Fortepiano), Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  Lutheran Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 27 Minutes 13 Secs. 
12.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 7 in B flat major, Op. 97 "Archduke" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Jos van Immerseel (Fortepiano), Vera Beths (Violin), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810-1811; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  Lutheran Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 36 Minutes 50 Secs. 
13.
Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 1 in E flat major, Op. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Vera Beths (Violin), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1794 
14.
Serenade for Violin, Viola and Cello in D major, Op. 8 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 

Featured Sound Samples

Octet: I. Allegro
Sextet for 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns & 2 Bassoons: II. Adagio

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