Day 115: Different Keys!

HaydnCD115As I wrote in yesterday’s blog post, Haydn’s Baryton Trios aren’t exactly the most compelling of musical compositions.

And the reason why is because Prince Esterhazy commanded Haydn create music that he could play.

So Haydn did.

What he created indicates Haydn didn’t think very highly of the Prince’s prowess.

Check out this entry on Wikipedia:

John Hsu estimates that the Prince [Esterhazy] was probably not a virtuoso on his instrument, judging from the difficulty of Haydn’s writing. The composer used only the top five of the seven bowed strings, and seldom required the player to pluck and bow simultaneously. The keys chosen are also the simplest to play in: D major and the neighboring keys of G major and A major.

While these easy-to-play baryton trios may have pleased the Prince no end (and kept Haydn gainfully employed), it makes for listening at this late date a bit of a chore because all of these trios sound the same. Very little variation in tempo. Very little variation in key.

That’s not to say these aren’t pleasant. They are. They’re just not essential.

Of the seven trios I heard today, I like Continue reading