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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67393
Recording details: December 2002
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: April 2004
Total duration: 13 minutes 27 seconds

'The Florestan Trio seems determined to extract every last ounce of energy, wit and spirit from these early works … the principal vehicle for conveying the music's brightness is Susan Tomes's finger-work, wonderfully precise and rhythmical' (Gramophone)

'Susan Tomes's dancing, crystalline passagework is a constant delight; instrumental repartee is delectably crisp and pointed; and the players are acutely alive to the sudden moments of stillness and harmonic darkening' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is the third volume of the Florestans' four-CD set of the complete piano trios; like its predecessors, it's a winner … the first two trios, recorded here, are among the young composer's most engaging, entertaining and genial works, and they get performances of characteristic swagger, brio and wit from this elite ensemble, perhaps the finest contemporary exponents of this repertoire performing on modern instruments today. Sample the irresistible elan of the allegro first movements and dazzling presto finales, and be won over' (The Sunday Times)

'The Florestan Trio's performance is vivid and dynamic' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Everything about this release is distinguished: superb engineering that puts the performers squarely in the room; virtuosic execution, with precision prevailing, even in the most rapidly executed runs; careful attention to balances, detail, and dynamics; and, perhaps most important, tempos that invariably hit the right emotional and aesthetic bull's eye' (Fanfare, USA)

'This ensemble are probably the finest current interpreters of this repertoire on modern instruments, and their superb playing supplies some extra vigour and wit … with Hyperion's very good sound, this this has got to be a winner and has therefore got to receive a firm recommendation' (Hi-Fi Plus)

'Hearing what these players can do with Beethoven in his early stages sharpens the appetite for the other courses in the Beethoven trio cycle' (San Francisco Chronicle)

'The listener's attention is constantly sharpened by the lucidity of this performance … a performance equal to the music itself' (Nineteenth-Century Music Review)

'The Florestan Trio’s collection of Beethoven trios is rounding itself out to be an outstanding cycle of an extraordinary standard. Now we have the opus 1 trios … the feeling of freshness and newness in the Florestan’s playing is highly virtuosic, yet witty and sensitive. Seldom is the vexing question of the balance between piano and string instruments so convincingly solved as here. The perceptiveness of the three musicians is enhanced by the fine recording technique' (Klassik-Heute.com)

Piano Trio in E flat major, WoO38
composer
1790/1

Allegro moderato  [4'04]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Trio in E flat, WoO38 was written in 1790 or 1791 and doubtless played by Beethoven with members of the Elector’s orchestra. This slender, amiable three-movement work seems almost tentative beside the ambitious Opus 1 trios. But it contains much charming, unassuming music, together with occasional prophetic touches like the subtle elision of development and recapitulation in the first movement. The development introduces a new falling arpeggio figure that Beethoven fleetingly recalls in the coda and was to put to more dramatic use a few years later in the Piano Sonata in F minor, Op 2 No 1.

The middle movement is also in E flat, making this a rare Beethoven work that retains the same key and mode throughout. Though labelled ‘Scherzo’, this is really a minuet, gentler and more decorous than the examples Haydn was producing by this time. The delightful Trio is a bucolic German dance. For the finale Beethoven writes an easy-going rondo whose lilting theme is varied on each of its reappearances. The cello has more independence here than in the earlier movements, especially in the imitative dialogues in the second, ‘developing’ episode. The quiet sideslip to a surprise key in the coda is an early example of a Haydnesque gambit which Beethoven would fruitfully exploit in the years to come.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2004

Other albums featuring this work
'Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio' (CDS44471/4)
Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio
MP3 £20.00FLAC £20.00ALAC £20.00Buy by post £22.00 CDS44471/4  4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
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