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

Release Date: 6/10/2016
Label: Sony
Catalog Number: 88697962622
Conductor: Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli, Mozzafiato
Number of Discs: 5

Physical Format:

CD
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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, 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]
Works on This Recording
1. Octet for Winds in E flat major, Op. 103 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon), Stewart Rose (French Horn), Ayako Oshima (Clarinet), Charles Neidich (Clarinet), Gerard Reuter (Oboe), William Purvis (French Horn), Marc Schachman (Oboe), Dennis Godburn (Bassoon)
Conductor: Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble: Mozzafiato
Period: Classical
Written: ?1792-93 ; Vienna, Austria
2. Rondino for Wind Octet in E flat major, WoO 25 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon), Ayako Oshima (Clarinet), Charles Neidich (Clarinet), Gerard Reuter (Oboe), Stewart Rose (French Horn), William Purvis (French Horn), Marc Schachman (Oboe), Dennis Godburn (Bassoon)
Conductor: Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble: Mozzafiato
Period: Classical
Written: 1793 ; Vienna, Austria
3. March for 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons and 2 Horns in B flat major, WoO 29 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon), Stewart Rose (French Horn), Ayako Oshima (Clarinet), Charles Neidich (Clarinet), William Purvis (French Horn), Dennis Godburn (Bassoon)
Conductor: Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble: Mozzafiato
Period: Classical
Written: 1798 ; Vienna, Austria
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
5. Sextet for 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns and 2 Bassoons in E flat major, Op. 71 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon), Stewart Rose (French Horn), Ayako Oshima (Clarinet), Charles Neidich (Clarinet), William Purvis (French Horn), Dennis Godburn (Bassoon)
Conductor: Charles Neidich
Orchestra/Ensemble: Mozzafiato
Period: Classical
Written: 1796 ; Vienna, Austria
6. Sextet for 2 Horns and Strings in E flat major, Op. 81b by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Knut Hasselmann (French Horn), Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin), Ab Koster (French Horn), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Lucy Van Dael (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical
Written: ?1795 ; Vienna, Austria
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
8. Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 3 in G major, Op. 9 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical
Written: 1797-1798 ; Vienna, Austria
9. Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 4 in D major, Op. 9 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical
Written: 1797-1798 ; Vienna, Austria
10. Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 5 in C minor, Op. 9 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical
Written: 1797-1798 ; Vienna, Austria
11. Trio for Piano and Strings no 5 in D major, Op. 70 no 1 "Ghost" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin), Jos van Immerseel (Fortepiano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical
Written: 1808 ; Vienna, Austria
12. Trio for Piano and Strings no 7 in B flat major, Op. 97 "Archduke" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin), Jos van Immerseel (Fortepiano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical
Written: 1810-1811 ; Vienna, Austria
13. Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 1 in E flat major, Op. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin)
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: Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Anner Bylsma (Cello), Vera Beths (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical
Written: 1796-1797 ; Vienna, Austria
15. 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 ;
16. Serenade for Violin, Viola and Cello in D major, Op. 8 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Vera Beths (Violin), Jürgen Kussmaul (Viola), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble: L'Archibudelli
Period: Classical
Written: 1796-1797 ; Vienna, Austria
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