This is a pretty essential re-release of one of the most delightful period-instrument Haydn albums. Originally recorded in 1994, the record presents the trios for piano, cello, and flute or violin, choosing flute. As a critic, I don’t have very much to say about it: it’s simply wonderful.
Period-instrument fans like me will recognize the name of Christophe Coin, who recorded many Haydn quartets with the Quatuor Mosaïques and the Haydn cello concertos with the Academy of Ancient Music and Christopher Hogwood. Patrick Cohen has appeared on a lot of good records, too: Boccherini quintets with the Mosaïques, more Haydn piano trios, and a few Mozart concertos conducted by - who else? - Christophe Coin. Konrad Hünteler is the least well-known but no less excellent.
As for the trios themselves, they are late Haydn at his most diverting. He wrote them in 1790 for publishers in London, and they include some of his trademark witty touches, like the sudden silence mid-development in the first movement of No. 28. No. 28’s final rondo seems like a never-ending stream of different melodies, all of them wonderful, one of them finally giving the flute a chance to dominate the spotlight. No. 30 is in two movements, the latter a seven-minute-long fake minuet; the “tempo di minuetto” marking masks a full sonata form.
The 1994 recording has not aged; it still sounds good as new. There are two kinds of Haydn lover in the world: those who have this album already, and those who need to grab it soon.