Hyperion Records

Piano Trio in C major, Hob XV:27
published in London in 1797; dedicated to Therese Jansen

'Haydn: Piano Trios, Vol. 1' (CDA67719)
Haydn: Piano Trios, Vol. 1
Movement 1: Allegro
Movement 2: Andante
Movement 3: Presto

Piano Trio in C major, Hob XV:27
Hob XV:27 in C major is the first of a set of three trios dedicated to Therese Jansen, and published in London in 1797, after Haydn had returned to Vienna. Therese Jansen was another pianist whom Haydn had met during his two visits to London. In 1795, at the age of twenty-five, she married Gaetano Bartolozzi, an art dealer and son of a well-known engraver, and Haydn was a witness at their wedding. Far from being a mere amateur pianist like most of Haydn’s patrons, she was one of Clementi’s best pupils, with a great reputation as a teacher, though she did not have a career as a public performer. Haydn also dedicated to her two of his most important solo piano sonatas, in E flat and C major. This trio, with its virtuoso piano-writing, suggests that she was a very fine performer.

The first movement is a substantial Allegro with a piano part of ceaseless activity: elaborate figurations and grace notes, rapid octaves, sudden contrasts of mood, key, register and dynamics. Once more, Haydn shows off the full capabilities of the English grand pianos, with their full tone and impressive bass register (Therese Jansen must certainly have owned one). As a complement to the elaboration of the piano part, Haydn gives the violinist considerably more independence than in most ‘accompanied sonatas’, with frequent passages of dialogue between piano and violin. The same is true of the slow movement, an Andante which begins gently, but is increasingly decorated with florid division and ornamentation by both piano and violin. Like the first movement, it is full of surprising changes of mood and colour. A central episode becomes brusque, with insistent accents on the main beats that evoke the rustic Hungarian music on which Haydn often drew. After two rather densely written movements, the finale comes as a complete contrast. It is as light as a feather, its perky main theme observed from all possible angles, and the witty banter culminating in a delightfully abrupt ending.

from notes by Robert Philip © 2009

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