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Haydn - Complete Piano Trios Volume 7

Trio in E Major (Hob. XV:34)
Trio in F Minor (Hob. XV:f1)
Trio in A Major (Hob. XV:35)
Trio in B flat Major (Hob. XV:38)
Trio in F Major (Hob. XV:40)

Trio 1790
Annette Wehnert, violin
Mercedes Ruiz, violincello
Harald Hoeren, harpsichord

CPO: 7772432

Although this disc is listed as one of the complete edition of the Piano trios, this seventh volume features as the keyboard instrument a Flemish-style harpsichord, most convincingly played by Harald Hoeren. The works featured are probably from the 1750s when the piano was all but unknown, and it is good to hear a much more realistic sound world than normally presented.

I find the harpsichord sound a little metallic and would have preferred a more Germanic-sounding instrument - but this is a minor quibble when the recording quality and performance are so polished.

One aspect that struck me after my first hearing was how well the violin and cello (Annette Wehnert and Mercedes Ruiz) fit into the texture and enhance the music without sounding "bolted on". All the musicians play with a cool sense of style - there are no quirks to annoy the listener - and I particularly enjoyed the ornamentation and varied repeats which are employed always to great effect.

Highlights on the disc for me are the almost sturm und drang contrast and passion of the last movement of the F minor trio, Hob XV:f1, with the performers steering their way through the helter-skelter figuration with restrained tension or sudden wild abandon (I also enjoyed the use of the buff stop on the harpsichord for the minuet of the same piece). Also the galant elegance of the Moderato first movement of the F major trio Hob. XV:40.

Steven Devine