Day 111: Would You Believe…Jazz?

HaydnCD111Today’s CD is a bittersweet one for me: It’s the last of Haydn’s piano trios.

I’ve grown accustomed to Haydn’s trios. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like them. They seemed rudimentary and shallow. But his Later Trios period contains awe-inspiring compositions; like today’s selection, for example.

I was totally blown away by Movement III (“Presto”) of Piano trio in C HOB XV:27. What an astonishing piece of work, especially for pianist Bart van Oort, whose fingers must have been exhausted by the time the movement ended.

The performance on this piece reminds me of famed pianist Glenn Gould. When Gould’s fingers get flying it’s Glenn_Gould_1something to behold.

Three of today’s trios (Nos. 27–29) are nicknamed “Bartolozzi Trios” and are dedicated to Theresa Jansen (Bartolozzi). From the Wiki article:

Therese Jansen Bartolozzi (ca. 1770 – 1843) was an eminent pianist whose career flourished in London around the end of the 18th century. She was the dedicatee of piano works by a number of famous composers.

That explains why these piano trios are heavy on the piano. They were written for someone who has extraordinary skill. They could be played by no other.

Another standout trio: Movement II (“Allegretto”) from Piano Trio in E HOB XV:28. I swear I’m listening to jazz. The phrasing, the seeming random placement of notes (as if improvised). This is jazz, dudes and dudettes. Haydn created jazz some two centuries before it was supposedly invented in America.

I’ve never heard a piece of Classical music like this Continue reading

Day 110: Of Love Affairs and Gypsies

HaydnCD110Today’s collection of Haydn Piano Trios is uneven and hard to get into.

But there are delights awaiting those who stick with it.

Haydn Piano Trio in D HOB XV:24 opens with an Allegro Movement I that sounds less like an Allegro than anything I’ve ever heard. It’s lugubrious – until about 3/4 through when Bart van Ooort cuts loose on the piano and the notes start flying. Until that point, I was ready to doze off.

Movement II (“Andante”) is a snooze fest from start to finish, as is Movement III (“Allegro ma dolce”), which contrary to its name, is definitely no sweeter.

Haydn Piano Trio in G HOB XV:25 immediately sounds different from what preceded it. And it ends with a totally kick-ass Movement III that earns this trio its nickname “Gypsy.”

Haydn Piano Trio in F Sharp Minor HOB XV:26 is interesting. But not especially compelling. The instruments blend well together, effortlessly climbing, intertwining, and flowing from start to finish. It’s a brilliant composition. Just not one of my favorites.

Piano Trio in G HOB XV:32 consists of just two movements. Even at that, it seems long. It’s great music. But it’s not grabbing my lapels and shaking me.

As were the previous selections, these compositions (except as noted) are brilliantly performed by the Van Swieten Trio, which – on this CD – consists of:

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Franc Polman violin
Job ter Haar cello

Here’s a list of Haydn’s piano trios. The are referred to by their Hoboken catalog names, and their date of composition is not always certain. So I’ll Continue reading

Day 109: Haydn, the Astute Diplomat

HaydnCD109I got to Panera Bread this morning, settled in, prepared the background info on today’s Haydn Piano Trios, stuck in my earbuds, and looked for Disc 109 in iTunes.

And couldn’t find it.

Somehow, when I was ripping and scanning Haydn Edition CDs a few nights ago, I missed ripping CD 109.

Fear not!

Luckily, I remembered the chap on YouTube who has been uploading these CDs. So I just listened to his (her?) YouTube clips, which wasn’t easy given the spotty Internet connection at Panera. But I soldiered through.

Although these Piano Trios were not as immediately wonderful as I thought previous compositions were, I think I have to classify today’s Piano Trios as…

FAVORITES!

As were the previous selections, these compositions (except as noted) are brilliantly performed by the Van Swieten Trio, which – on this CD – consists of:

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Franc Polman violin
Jaap ter Linden cello

Here’s a list of Haydn’s piano trios. The are referred to by their Hoboken catalog names, and their date of composition is not always certain. So I’ll Continue reading

Day 105: Awesome, Part Two

HaydnCD105Another FAVORITE!

I listened to these compositions on repeat today, probably 2-3 times at least.

It’s possible I liked this particular CD so much because a lot of these Piano Trios were from Haydn’s “Later Trios” period. He was slightly older, more mature.

Maybe he figured out how to write Piano Trios by that point.

Whatever. This is excellent music.

Providing the music for these Piano Trios is the Van Swieten Trio, which consists of:

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Franc Polman violin
Jaap ter Linden cello

Here’s a list of Haydn’s piano trios. The are referred to by their Hoboken catalog names, and their date of composition is not always certain. So I’ll Continue reading

Day 104: Awesome

HaydnCD104Today’s CD warrants a FAVORITE label. There’s just something light, fun, bouncy, and clever about it.

I like it a lot.

Providing the music for these Piano Trios is the Van Swieten Trio, which consists of:

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Franc Polman violin
Jaap ter Linden cello

Here’s a list of Haydn’s piano trios. The are referred to by their Hoboken catalog names, and their date of composition is not always certain. So I’ll Continue reading