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Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Piano Trios - Volume Four
Piano Trio in B flat, No. 8 [12:49]
Piano Trio in A, No. 9 [12:01]
Piano Trio in E flat, No. 10 [10:03]
Piano Trio in E flat, No. 11 [14:09]
Piano Trio in E minor, No. 12 [19:47]
Bartolozzi Trio
rec. 5-7 September 2012, Wyastone Hall, Wyastone, UK
NAXOS 8.573128 [68:52]

The Bartolozzi Trio is ideally set up to perform Haydn: they use modern instruments, but have all carefully studied historically informed performance (HIP), including bowing, vibrato and quick pacing. Matthew Truscott has been concertmaster of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, English Concert and King’s Consort. Richard Lester was principal cello for the OAE and now plays in both the London Haydn Quartet and the Florestan Trio. Simon Crawford-Phillips might be familiar from his work with the marvelous Kungsbacka Trio, which recorded the three previous volumes in this series.
 
No surprise, then, that these relatively early trios are masterfully performed. They’re short works, all but one of them in just two movements, and as appealing as can be. The compromise the Bartolozzi strikes is just about perfect. Those who prefer the new historical authenticity won’t be put out since the players are so attuned to this era. All that the modern instruments really add is an extra degree of fullness and beauty and that’s what a lot of anti-HIPsters are complaining about, so perhaps they will accept this too.
 
The Trio No. 12, in E minor, is by far the most substantial of these at 20 minutes, and it’s a delight, looking forward almost to young Beethoven. The cello has more work to do than in many works from the time period but don’t expect too much E-minor melancholy; that only lasts for a few minutes. The Bartolozzi performance is slick and stylish.
 
With sound quality just as good as the playing, this review can be brief. The CD is wonderfully satisfying, and only die-hard HIP or anti-HIP partisans could be displeased. I found it a most enjoyable hour of Haydn. Reviews don’t get easier to write than that.
 
Brian Reinhart