An American-British fortepianist, a Transylvanian violinist, and an Italian-British cellist join together into a trio with a Spanish name and produce a historical-instrument recording of a group of late Haydn trios that may well set the standard. Perhaps you can chalk it up to the increasingly international quality of the historical performance movement. Whatever the case, this recording showcases the strengths of historical instruments in Haydn and is just beautifully thought out in every detail. Keyboardist Maggie Cole, playing a copy of a Viennese Walter fortepiano by the superb American-Czech builder Paul McNulty, forges a genuine blend among the three instruments of the trio, important even though the cello usually still doubles the piano's left hand. The group brings out the spacious, quasi-orchestral qualities of the outer movements of these trios and, perhaps more than any other recording, puts the listener in the mind of the young Beethoven, whose Op. 1 trios were mightily influenced by these works. The group also captures the sheer daring invention of these pieces, absolutely astonishing given Haydn's advanced age. The striking Baroque-style central movement of the Piano Trio in E major, Hob. 15/28, the kaleidoscopic thematic structure of the Piano Trio in C major, Hob. 15/27, the daring chromatic harmonies throughout; all these details and more emerge with a sense of freshness and invention neatly summed up by the nifty cover engraving of an early hot-air balloon. Factor in Chandos' fine studio recording and some pleasantly literate booklet notes by Robert White, and you have a Haydn chamber recording that is just very tough to beat.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Piano Trio No. 25 in C major, Op. 75, No. 1, Hob. XV:27|
|Piano Trio No. 26 in E major, Op. 75, No. 2, Hob. XV:28|
|Piano Trio No. 24 in F sharp minor, Op. 73, No. 3, Hob. XV:26|
|Piano Trio No. 22 in D major, Op. 73, No. 1, Hob. XV:24|