Hyperion Records

Piano Trio in D major, Hob XV:24
No 38; dedicated to Rebecca Schroeter

'Haydn: Piano Trios Nos 38-40' (CDA66297)
Haydn: Piano Trios Nos 38-40
'Haydn: Piano Trios, Vol. 1' (CDA67719)
Haydn: Piano Trios, Vol. 1
Movement 1: Allegro
Movement 2: Andante
Movement 3: Allegro, ma dolce
Track 3 on CDA66297 [3'40] Archive Service
Movement 3: Allegro, ma non dolce

Piano Trio in D major, Hob XV:24
Following the death of his employer, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, Haydn was free to accept an invitation to visit London for the first time in 1791, where he and his music were rapturously received. While he was in London he gave music lessons to Rebecca Schroeter, the widow of a composer. They developed an intimate relationship, and touching letters from Mrs Schroeter to Haydn survive. On one occasion she wrote: ‘No language can express half the Love and affection I feel for you, you are Dearer to me every Day of my life.’ Haydn kept her letters into his old age, admitting to one of his biographers that she was ‘a beautiful and lovable woman, whom I would very readily have married if I had been free then’ (Haydn, a warm and passionate man, had been locked in a cold and loveless marriage for thirty years). During his second visit to London in 1794–5, Haydn dedicated to Rebecca Schroeter three trios, Hob XV:24–26.

Among Haydn’s later trios, the Piano Trio in D major Hob XV:24 is unusual in being consistently serious in tone, with almost Beethoven-like earnestness. The first movement is on quite a large scale, full of pauses and surprises, sudden offbeat accents and bursts of energy—just the effects that Beethoven was beginning to exploit. The writing for piano makes full use of the English grand pianos Haydn had got to know, with rich chords, bold octaves in the bass and much brilliant elaboration above. The brief second movement is built from an anxious little dotted-rhythm figure, which has the air of a solemn dance. It leads without a break into the finale. This looks, on paper, somewhat like a minuet. But the triple-time is continually disguised and subverted by the interplay between the instruments, and by successions of phrases two beats long. The overall impression is less of a dance and more of a rather worried conversation, which finally comes to an unexpected end as if the speakers had walked off through the door, still talking.

from notes by Robert Philip © 2009

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