Trio 1790

Haydn: Complete Piano Trios, Vol. 7

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Haydn: Complete Piano Trios, Vol. 7 Review

by Mike D. Brownell

The influence of "Papa" Haydn on the development of the string quartet and symphony cannot be understated. The compositions of Mozart and Beethoven grew directly out of Haydn's contributions. But because of his primacy in symphonic and string quartet writing, it can sometimes be too easy to overlook the fact that Haydn wrote extensively (and successfully) for a myriad of other ensembles. Here we have Volume 7 of his complete piano trios. The five works heard here are performed with harpsichord rather than fortepiano, as would have been practice at the time for his earlier works. As such, they resemble the Baroque trio sonata more than what might come to mind when thinking of a piano trio by Beethoven or Mozart. Balance on the album is precisely as it should be, with the harpsichord clearly dominant, the violin strong and often doubling the harpsichord, and the cello filling a continuo-like role with the left hand of the harpsichord. The Trio 1790, which has recorded all the volumes of this set, performs with exceptional energy, crisp articulation, precise intonation, and a great deal of musical integrity, making this album a wonderful introduction to this body of Haydn's works.

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