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Haydn & Schumann

Haydn Piano Trio in F# minor HXV:26
Schumann Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor Op. 63
Haydn Trio No 27 in C major (2nd. movt.)

Trio Jean Paul

Wigmore Hall 8 December 2008

Full houses are nowadays regular occurrences at Wigmore Hall, morning, lunchtime and evenings; it is surviving nicely without having to compromise with repertoire and genres as South Bank has had to do.

This piano trio, which made its name with Schumann, retains its excellence and vitality, giving that indefinable thing which is a "performance". Although middling amateur string players used, in my time, to look down on the piano trio as a medium - portentously citing the limitation of the piano's fixed equal temperament, would you believe - the best groups, from Cortot/Thibaud/Casals through Beaux Arts to today's, have always relished the inherent contrast between bow and hammer.

Our first experience of the Jean Pauls was in a different Haydn/Schumann programme in Lucerne, and again today the wondrous inexhaustability of Haydn's late trios stood out; there are too many of them to tire us with overfamiliarity. I found myself listening closely to the cellist, who doesn't just double automatically; perhaps the best moments were in the encore, which teasingly made you wish they were giving No 27 complete...

I listened afterwards to some of the recital on BBCR3 Listen Again but found the transmission quality very poor*; however, the announcer did give the detail of that encore as above, which the players in the Hall had left us guessing...

Peter Grahame Woolf

*P.S. The Saturday afternoon repeat of this Monday lunchtime concert sounded fine, however; but the BBC really does need to address the sound quality for their R3 Listen Again music transmissions; other European broadcasting stations do far better. PGW