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Track(s) taken from CDA67393

Piano Trio in E flat major, WoO38


The Florestan Trio
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)
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

Le Trio en mi bémol, WoO38 fut écrit en 1790 ou en 1791. Beethoven le joua sans nul doute avec les membres de l’orchestre de l’électeur. Cette aimable œuvre élancée, en trois mouvements, paraît presque expérimentale à côté des ambitieux Trios, op.1. Elle n’en offre pas moins une musique fort charmante, sans prétention, ainsi que d’occasionnels instants prophétiques, telle la subtile élision du développement et de la reprise dans le premier mouvement. Le développement introduit une nouvelle figure arpégée descendante, que Beethoven reprend rapidement dans la coda – il en fera, quelques années plus tard, un usage davantage dramatique dans la Sonate pour piano en fa mineur, op.2 no1.

Le mouvement médian ne dérogeant pas au mi bémol, cette œuvre est l’une des rares de Beethoven à constamment conserver la même tonalité et le même mode. Quoique étiqueté «Scherzo», il s’agit en réalité d’un menuet, plus doux et bienséant que ceux produits par Haydn à la même époque. Ce ravissant Trio est une bucolique danse allemande. Pour le finale, Beethoven écrit un rondo décontracté, dont le thème harmonieux est varié à chaque apparition. Le violoncelle y apparaît plus indépendant que dans les mouvements antérieurs, notamment dans les dialogues imitatifs du second épisode «en développement». La paisible glissade vers une tonalité surprise, dans la coda, est un exemple précoce d’une astuce haydnesque que Beethoven allait exploiter avec bonheur dans les années à venir.

extrait des notes rédigées par Richard Wigmore © 2004
Français: Hypérion

Beethovens Trio in Es-Dur, WoO38, entstanden 1790 oder 1791 und vom Komponisten zweifellos mit Mitgliedern des Kurfürstlichen Orchesters aufgeführt. Dieses schlanke, liebenswerte Werk in drei Sätzen wirkt neben den anspruchsvollen Trios op. 1 beinahe zaghaft. Doch es enthält viel charmante, unprätentiöse Musik neben gelegentlichen vorausweisenden Anklängen wie der feinfühlingen Verknappung von Durchführung und Reprise im Kopfsatz. Die Durchführung führt eine neue abfallende Arpeggiofigur ein, an die Beethoven in der Coda kurz erinnert und aus der er Jahre später in der Klaviersonate in f-Moll op. 2 Nr. 1 dramatischeren Nutzen ziehen sollte.

Der Mittelsatz steht ebenfalls in Es-Dur, was dieses Werk zu einem jener seltenen in Beethovens Schaffen macht, die durchweg die gleiche Tonart und den gleichen Modus beibehalten. Obwohl er als Scherzo bezeichnet wird, handelt es sich bei dem Satz in Wahrheit um ein Menuett, sanfter und schicklicher als die von Haydn um diese Zeit geschaffenen. Das wunderbare Trio ist ein bukolischer deutscher Tanz. Als Finale setzt Beethoven ein unbekümmertes Rondo, dessen beschwingtes Thema bei jedem neuerlichen Erklingen abgewandelt wird. Dem Cello wird hier mehr Unabhängigkeit zugestanden als in den vorhergehenden Sätzen, insbesondere in den imitativen Dialogen der zweiten, „durchführenden“ Episode. Das unauffällige Abgleiten in eine unvermutete Tonart in der Coda ist ein frühes Beispiel für einen an Haydn orientierten Kniff, den Beethoven in kommenden Jahren nutzbringend zum Einsatz bringen sollte.

aus dem Begleittext von Richard Wigmore © 2004
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

Other albums featuring this work

Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio
CDS44471/44CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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