Day 107: And Now…a Flute!

HaydnCD107Another great CD of Haydn’s Piano Trios, this time with a distinct and immediately noticeable difference: the introduction of a flute.

In other words, a change in players: flautist Marion Moonen in, violinist Remy Baudet out.

It’s still a trio – the Van Swieten Trio, in point of fact – but now the music takes on a different sound.

I’m a big fan of the flute. That’s why I like Jethro Tull. And Red Priest.

Add a flute to a song – especially a rock/metal song – and you have my undivided attention.

And so it was wheimagesn I pushed Play on today’s CD. “A flute!” I said to myself. “Am I listening to the right CD?”

I looked at it and realized it was, indeed, Haydn CD 107: Piano Trios HOB XV:15-17.

But a flute! Now, you’re talkin’, Joseph!

Now would be a good time to introduce all of the players. So…

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

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Marion Moonen flute
Jaap ter Linden cello

A brief bio of Marion Moonen from the web site The Bach Players:

Marion Moonen studied flute at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague with Paul Verhey and Frans Vester, and Baroque flute with Wilbert Hazelzet. She is a member of various ensembles and orchestras, including the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Kleine Konzert of the Rheinische Kantorei with Hermann Max, the Van Swieten Society, and Concerto d’Amsterdam. Since the formation of the ensemble Musica ad Rhenum in 1992 she has performed and recorded much of the repertoire for two Baroque flutes with flautist Jed Wentz. She features on recent recordings with Wilbert Hazelzet, the Van Swieten Society, the Attaignant Consort, and other chamber groups.

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 106: A Few Delightful Surprises

HaydnCD106Another FAVORITE!

I was hooked from the first few notes of Movement I (“Andante”) of Piano Trio in C Minor.

There’s a melody here!

Haydn wrote a discernible melody!

This isn’t just a well-crafted landscape of music. It’s compelling – nearly hummable – to boot.

And that’s not even taking into account the lovely piano work, which is especially extraordinary in this piece (the piano really cuts loose about 3/4 into it). And the violin passages (it switches from the piano carrying the melody to the violin carrying the melody at about the 1:00 mark).

I could listen to Piano Trio in C Minor HOB XV:13 all day long.

Piano Trio in A Flat HOB XV:14 is no slouch, though. Terrific piano work in Movement I (“Allegro moderato”). Movement II (“Adagio”) is much slower, but no less compelling, especially when the piano is tinkling away and the violin is doing its pizzicato best to arrest my attention. Movement III (“Rondo Vivace”) brings this Trio to a close in grand style.

Piano Trio in F HOB XV:2 is also quite exquisite from Movement I (“Allegro moderato”) to Movement III (“Finale: Adagio with four variations”). Movement III contains really interesting instrumentation. It’s very hard to describe (because, remember, I’m not a musicologist). But from about the 3:54 mark until the 4:25 mark it’s almost comical. The instruments would play Dee-Do-Dee-Do-Do and then there’d be a Dee! Dee! Dee!, then back to Dee-Do-Dee-Do-Do and then another rapid-fire Dee! Dee! Dee! I’d say listen for yourself, except I couldn’t find that particular clip on YouTube.

The entire CD is worth listening to again and again.

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

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Remy Baudet 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 98: White Out

HaydnCD98I like to put things in context.

Take these Haydn string quartets, for example.

They were composed in 1790. Haydn was 58. Two days from now, on January 8th, in the same year Haydn composed Op. 64 string quartets, George Washington, America’s first President, will deliver the first State of the Union address. (See the article here.)

501px-Gilbert_Stuart_Williamstown_Portrait_of_George_WashingtonThat bears repeating. Forty-eight hours from now, albeit two-hundred twenty-four years ago, George Washington will speak to the fledgling United States for the first time to tell us how things are going. At that time, America consisted of 13 states. And things were probably going fine.

Today, America is 50 states (depending on whom you ask) and our State of the Union is in sorry shape, indeed.

BenFranklinDuplessisAlso, in the same year Haydn composed Op. 64, Benjamin Franklin (one of the Founding Fathers of America) died.

A lot has changed in two and a half centuries. Yet, here I am listening to music compose before George Washington first addressed America. Remarkable, wouldn’t you say?

I wonder what the weather was like on this day in 1790.

I can tell you this much: The weather is frightening now. The worst snow and cold we’ve experienced in decades. So I’ve been listening to Haydn at home lately. Doesn’t pay to risk my life to drive to Panera just for one of their bagels and, maybe if the gods are smiling, a cup of their Light Roast coffee.

For more background on Haydn’s Op. 64, please see yesterday’s post.

I’m not sure why, but Continue reading

Day 97: Of Snowstorms and Bagels

HaydnCD97As I type this, Michigan is in the middle of a winter storm warning the likes of which we haven’t seen in years.

It’s a good day to be holed up at Panera, drinking Light Roast coffee and eating a bagel.

Or, it’s a good day to be holed up at home, not venturing out into the weather. But I’m a bit of an adventurist. Or a fool. Take your pick.

Either way, today’s CD features Haydn’s Op. 64 quartets (Nos. 1, 2, 3), composed in 1790. Haydn was 58.

For some reason, these are called the “Tost” quartets. I’ll find out why soon enough.

After a bit of Googling, I found this as a pdf for I don’t know what:

From 1783 to 1788 the Hungarian Johann Tost was principal second violin in the Esterházy orchestra of which Haydn was music director. When Tost left Esterházy in 1788 to freelance in Paris, Haydn entrusted 6 quartets to him with a view to finding a publisher. Tost was successful, and they were published in Paris in two sets of three as Op 54 and 55. A later set of six, Op 64, were written in 1790, the year that Haydn first visited London. Around this time Tost returned from Paris, married the housekeeper at Esterházy (of whom Haydn was also fond) and used her money to set up a successful cloth business in Vienna. There in 1791 he also found a publisher for this Op 64 set, which are gratefully dedicated to him. Tost continued to play the violin and commission chamber works, whose performances in aristocratic homes provided an entrée for his cloth business; incidentally he is possibly the dedicatee (“composto per un amatore ongarese”) of the last two of Mozart’s string quintets.

Oh, now I see where that pdf came from. This web site. It’s an organization Continue reading