Day 125: An Odd One

HaydnCD125To say that Baryton Trio No. No 96 in B Minor starts this CD off slowly is a tremendous understatement.

The lugubrious low tones of the baryton – combined with an unusually slow tempo – make Movement I (“Largo”) one of the most uninspiring first movements I’ve yet heard.

Movement II (“Allegro”) and Movement III (“Menuet”) don’t sweeten the deal any.

No. 96 isn’t one of my faves.

No. 97 in D, despite having seven(!) movements is only better because it has seven movements. It’s odd. And, therefore, intriguing. I was fascinated by this trio.

According to a CD description on the AllMusic web site, No. 97 offers an “…odd but confident seven-movement structure (including a fugue).”

Movement VII (“Finale: Fuga presto”) was lively and fun. Plus, Continue reading

Day 124: Happy 1st of February!

HaydnCD124Another cold, snowy day.

The weather team from a local station reported that there were only four days in January in which it didn’t snow.

Four days.

All of you who live in warmer climes, wrap your noggins around that tidbit.

I wonder what Haydn was doing on this day around 1770 as he composed these god-awful baryton trios. Was he freezing his arse off? Were his fingers cold? Was he huddled by a fire? Was he depressed because the days were too short, and there wasn’t enough sun to buoy him?

Hey. Wait a minute.

The first trio (No. 88 in A) is capturing (and holding) my attention. Movement I (“Adagio”) was slow, but not painfully so, and it featured a mournful-but-interesting ask-and-answer part around the 5:10 mark. I found myself drawn into it. Movement II (“Allegro”) was just allegro enough to keep me entertained. Even though Movement III (“Menuet”) isn’t as peppy as a movement three ought to be, there was something about this one that sounded so wondrously composed that I was enthralled. Dare I say it? FAVORITE!


No. 89 in G was also quite nice. Another FAVORITE!

Methinks I Continue reading

Day 120: Cold, Cold, Cold, Cold…

HaydnCD120The perfect follow-up to yesterday’s snow: a temperature this morning of 0 degress with a “feels like” temperature of -14F.

Yeah, baby!

Now that’s Pure Michigan.

For anyone not living in or near Michigan, that’s an inside joke.

Pure Michigan is the name of an ad campaign designed to get people to consider vacationing in Michigan – or not move out of the state quicker than rats from a sinking ship. Can’t tell which.

January28TempAnyway, they’re syrupy, fictitious ads that paint a picture quite unlike what the reality of living here actually is.

As I did yesterday, I let the CD play this morning while I did other things (mostly sip Light Roast coffee, watch people, and think about my life going down the shitter).

The CD began slowly, with compositions that sounded like droning, ambient music.

Ahh, the baryton. It’s no wonder you’ve been relegated to period-piece music fests.

It wasn’t until Track Seven, which is Movement I (“Allegro”) of Baryton Trio No. 62 in G that my sonic taste buds started munching on something sweet.

Then Track Eight, which is Continue reading

Day 119: Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow…

HaydnCD119I listened to this CD three times today, as background while I graded papers and watched through the window at Panera as more record snow and freezing temperatures made our lives hell.

All three times I noted the same passages as being standouts.

And I didn’t know I was doing that.

I was just listening along when something would jump out at me. So I reached for my pen and paper to write down which track it was and – surprise! – it was the same track each time.

That tells me (a) I’m stuck in a rut and only like what I really, really like, and/or (b) once I hear something, it remains indelibly etched in my brain, and/or (c) these objectively are standout performances.

The tracks are: Continue reading

Day 116: Tiptoeing Through the Barytons

HaydnCD116If you’ve been following my previous posts, you know that these baryton trios are a bit of a slog for me.

It’s not that they’re poorly played (on the contrary, these musicians are brilliant). It’s not that they’re badly written (Haydn was, after all, Haydn).

It’s that they’re all the same, more or less. Over one hundred compositions for the baryton (an old instrument somewhat like a cello), many of which are in the key of A because Prince Esterhazy wasn’t an accomplished player and so Haydn had to “dumb down” his compositions for the Prince.

I did notice something interesting in one of the trios today. I also notice a pizzicato passage because it always strikes me as humorous. Like cartoon characters tip toeing, sneaking up on someone. This plucking style appeared in Movement II (“Menuet”) of Baryton Trio No. 34 in D and caught my attention immediately. This Movement II is rather pleasant. I could listen to this one repeatedly.

In addition, the third and final movement (“Finale: Presto”) is peppier than usual as well.

Dare I say this baryton trio is a FAVORITE?

The next one (Baryton Trio No. 35 in A) is also Continue reading