Hyperion Records

Piano Trio in G major, K564
composer
October 1788

Recordings
'Mozart: Piano Trios K502 & 564' (CDA66125)
Mozart: Piano Trios K502 & 564
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66125  Archive Service; also available on CDS44021/3  
'Mozart: Piano Trios K502,542,564' (CDA67556)
Mozart: Piano Trios K502,542,564
'Mozart: Six Piano Trios' (CDS44021/3)
Mozart: Six Piano Trios
MP3 £15.00FLAC £15.00ALAC £15.00Buy by post £41.97 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDS44021/3  3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service  
Details
Movement 1: Allegro
Track 7 on CDA67556 [7'44]
Track 4 on CDA66125 [7'41] Archive Service; also available on CDS44021/3
Track 4 on CDS44021/3 CD3 [7'41] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
Movement 2: Andante
Track 8 on CDA67556 [5'52]
Track 5 on CDA66125 [6'44] Archive Service; also available on CDS44021/3
Track 5 on CDS44021/3 CD3 [6'44] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
Movement 3: Allegretto
Track 9 on CDA67556 [4'37]
Track 6 on CDA66125 [4'43] Archive Service; also available on CDS44021/3
Track 6 on CDS44021/3 CD3 [4'43] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service

Piano Trio in G major, K564
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In October 1788, Mozart wrote his last work in the genre, the Piano Trio in G major K564. It is a sign of the times that it was first published in England, not in Vienna. And it is a sign of the conservative tastes of publishers and public that, when it was finally issued in Vienna the following year, it was still advertised, like its predecessors, as being ‘for harpsichord or forte piano with the accompaniment of a violin and violoncello’. Mozart may have led the new fashion for the piano, but many households still had their harpsichords, and the predominant model for piano trios was still the ‘accompanied sonatas’, which Haydn was to continue writing long after Mozart’s death in 1791.

Indeed, this trio has a rather more ‘domestic’ feel than those Mozart wrote earlier in the year. It is simpler and shorter, perhaps aimed deliberately at the amateur market rather than for Mozart himself to play. Some writers have been disappointed to find this lighter work at the end of Mozart’s sequence of trios, and it is true that it says what it has to say without unnecessary complication. But Mozart at his most direct is just as difficult to play as Mozart at his most subtle and complex. He gives the impression of having put every note in precisely the right place, creating elegant and lyrical structures that require absolute clarity and precision. And if one imagines eavesdropping on friends playing at home, rather than the formality of concert presentation, this elegant and charming piece seems completely in its element.

The first movement is a fluent and rippling Allegro, with a second theme which is very closely related to the first, and a middle section that, rather than develop existing material, starts with an entirely new theme (as in the earlier two trios). These are examples of the subtle ways in which Mozart subverts expectations, even in an apparently straightforward piece of music. The Andante is a set of variations on a melody almost like a slow minuet, though with a hint of sadness in the harmonies of its last few bars. And the finale opens with a naïve little tune in the dotted rhythm of a siciliano. Its very simplicity enables Mozart to suggest shifts of mood with the deftest of touches: a move to a minor key clouds the atmosphere while maintaining the lively rhythm; another episode swings the music into a peasant dance. And the ending is a delight, with the instruments answering each other in wistful counterpoint, suggesting, as so often in Mozart, that deeper thoughts were all the time lurking beneath the tranquil surface.

from notes by Robert Philip © 2006

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