On this recording, the Gryphon Trio is continuing its survey of the great chamber music repertoire, performing two Beethoven’s masterpieces for violin, cello, and piano: the Piano Trio Op. 1 No. 2 and the “Archduke” trio.
In late 1792, just one year after Mozart’s death, Beethoven arrived in Vienna. There, he hoped to make good on Count Ferdinand Waldstein’s prophecy: “with the help of assiduous labour you shall receive Mozart’s spirit from Haydn’s hands”.
But in his first year in the great city of culture, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) composed nothing of importance. Not even a year of lessons with Haydn, the gatekeeper of the Classical style, bore any fruit. That is, until the great master left for England in January 1794. Only then did his young pupil immerse himself in work. “This year must determine the complete man,” wrote Beethoven in his diary. “Nothing must remain undone.” He dug up some old sketches from Bonn and dashed off new material to produce a set of three piano trios. Each of considerable scope, they demonstrated his absorption of the Classical style (in part thanks to Haydn’s tutelage) and hinted at future innovations.
© Robert Rival 2009