The Aquinas Piano Trio presents Vol. 8 in our acclaimed survey of Joseph Haydn’s Piano Trios. Previous albums have variously featured both the Aquinas, Bartolozzi, Kungsbacka and Oberlin Trios.
‘It has been a delight to record three volumes of Haydn’s Piano Trios for Naxos over the last two years and enthralling to be in Haydn’s company for so long and in so much depth! He constantly confounds expectations, often in a structural sense or when his humour turns on a sixpence suddenly into pathos.
My favourite trio from Vol. 8 is probably XV:5, as each movement has something individual to say, while also giving the performers the opportunity to shine musically and technically. One of the most unusual features of this trio is that Haydn signs off with an elegant minuet plus a variation instead of a trio, which feels like a coquettish wink to the listener. XV:6 also has irresistible energy in its exciting first movement and the double variation first movement of XV:13 is wondrous in its elegiac yet restrained ardour.
There is so much to enjoy in this lovely collection of trios.’
– Martin Cousin
As one of the most celebrated composers of the late 18th century, Joseph Haydn can lay claim to being ‘father of the piano trio’ alongside that of other genres established in his lifetime such as the symphony and the string quartet. The delightful Divertimento in C major is a youthful work, but the later piano trios recorded here take on a heightened sophistication. Strings and keyboard are given a new independence of character in exquisitely crafted works such as the C minor Trio, with its ‘numerous and sometimes spectacular modulations’, and oscillating enharmonic key changes that foreshadow Schubert can be heard in the Trio in D major.
The Aquinas Piano Trio has established itself as one of Britain’s most sought-after chamber groups. Career highlights include a Schumann concert series at Kings Place, London, and performances at the Menton Music Festival in France, the Chipping Campden Music Festival in the UK, and the Kirker Chopin Festival in Mallorca. Their continuing support of contemporary music saw them premiere new works by Thomas Hyde and Rob Keeley, and record Rob Keeley’s Piano Trio No. 2 for Naxos. The trio has also recorded works by Michael Stimpson, Lawrence Rose, Smetana, Rachmaninov and Haydn.