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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A box of polished gems, 30 Nov 2006
By 
John Ferngrove (Hants UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
That Haydn is generally considered to have been 'superseded' by Mozart is one of life's great mysteries to me. There is a parallel universe in which I listen to this set exclusively and am probably a better and more contented person for it. The endless invention ensures that there are pieces here for every mood and occasion, and one could do far worse than be stuck on a desert island with nothing but this set for company. I first made their acquaintance over three days, whilst up a ladder, painting the outside of my house. More recently they have been my in-car accompaniment for the last three or four weeks, on the drive to and from work, and I have found myself stretching out the journeys in order increase the time spent with them. None stand out because the Beaux Arts Trio ensures that each one is presented as an exquisitely polished gem in its own right, with every detail sparkling. Along with the Beethoven piano sonatas and quartets these have a very special place on my shelf.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent interpretations of unduly neglected works, 14 May 2008
By 
Marcolorenzo (Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
These works for piano, violin and cello have been greatly neglected for various reasons. Starting with Robert Schumann's negative comments of Haydn, these works along with many other masterpieces of Haydn have suffered all through the 19th and 20th century from scholarly and performer's neglect. They include more than a dozen masterpieces, neglected basically because they were considerd to be simply accompanied piano sonatas or written in what was considered to have been an old-fashioned style, where the cello part reproduces the piano part (a carry-over of the basso-ostinato) or simply accompanies the piano part. Historically this is because in the time of Haydn the pianoforte was weak in the bass and needed reinforcing. And they have been neglected also partly because there is in many of them no real independence of the vocal lines between piano and violin. The reinforcing of the piano part by the cello did however give Haydn a more powerful piano with which his mind and imagination took flight and brought him to heights he never reached in any other of his works - sublime heights!
However of the 42 existent Haydn trios (there are 45 in total, 3 have been lost),(all 42 are included here in this set) there are at least 14 which are great masterpieces of tonal and melodic brilliance and imagination and rank in greatness with the London Symphonies, (being however more expansive, spontaneous and joyful than the Symphonies), with the Late String Quartets (but more intimate and less intellectual), and with the last choral works. In some of them you can almost hear and see Haydn composing and inventing tonal progressions before your very eyes. The trios ( most of the early ones) which are not themselves in this category of masterpieces and which may seem like beautiful background music are very pleasant and lovely salon pieces all the same.
This set is a must have for any serious classical music lover. The playing is ravishing. It is the reference set for all these works. It won the Gramophone Record of the Year Award back in the late 1970's. This set and these works will guide you through a lifetime of musical discoveries with their divine magnificence and infinite inventiveness in sound.
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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute perfection, 9 Sep 2006
By 
Matthew Robinson (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
After working my way through Haydn's string quartets and piano sonatas, the next logical step was this box set which is, incredibly, the only complete set of the trios. It's a neglected part of the repertoire, like his equally fine piano sonatas.

I suppose the sheer quantity of Haydn's writing, and it's relative restraint when compared to the revolutionaries who followed in his wake, leads many (including my wife!) to dismiss his music as somehow "written by the yard". However, the great joy of the man is that once discovered and appreciated, there is a vast treasure trove of works to cherish - enough for a lifetime's pleasure.

That said, it is probably best to think of these pieces as duets for piano and violin with cello accompaniment - the cello part is really a doubling of the pianists left hand to add depth to the rather thin keyboards of the time. Not that that diminishes these works in any way.

The first half of the pieces are delightful, but the second half truly are mature works, and every one is a masterpiece. They deserve to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best from Mozart or Beethoven.

As for the playing and recording, they are superb in every way - even on first hearing the joy of the music-making is absolutely evident; and that is not something I would say for every Beaux Arts recording I own. Their versions of the Mozart trios feel crude by comparison.

This set is understandably highly regarded; listed as a Gramophone 'Top 100 Recording' and given 3-stars and a Rosette by the Penguin Guide. Thoroughly deserved too!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply glorious, 14 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. P. D. Humphreys "peedurr" (Swindon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
Haydn's piano trios are still very much under-rated. The early works are all well worth listening to, and the later ones are unqualified masterpieces, with Haydn experimenting in all sorts of ways that he was reluctant to try with more public works. The Beaux Arts Trio were the first to give us this music, and although there are now more versions to choose from, they are still the tops. As well as showing a true understanding of 18th-century conventions, they bring an element of fantasy and wonder to the trios that later artists have missed. People talk of life-enhancing music: well, you've got it here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply satisfing and civilising music, 26 July 2009
By 
Aquinas "summa" (celestial heights, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
Haydn is indeed a great composer. It is unfortunate that he is compared unfavourably to Mozart. Indeed, in some areas he outshines Mozart, in the string quartet and indeed in the final 6 masses. Whilst he does not quite outshine Mozart in the piano trio form, the music is nonetheless deeply satsifying and these particular recordings are very warm indeed.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, glorious music, 1 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
Haydn's piano trios show depths of inspiration unplumbed even by his symphonies and quartets. This is incredible music, impeccably interpreted, and reasonably priced for what you get.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate Haydn, 3 Feb 2011
By 
P. H. Smith "Phil Smith" (Merseyside, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
I have the original LP box of this iconic set of piano trios and delayed replacing it in the hope that a worthy original instrument CD set would come along. That hasn't happened so I decided to take the plunge and get the Beaux Arts set. I shouldn't have worried; although I generally prefer Haydn on the instruments for which the music was composed, these performances are so good that all reservations are swept aside. The CD transfers are also excellent, the sound quality being even better than the originals. Other reviewers have already extolled the virtues of both the music and performances in terms that I can only endorse wholeheartedly. The later trios, in particular, include some of the finest classical music ever written. After listening to them, one realises why Joseph Haydn was rated the greatest composer of his time (or any time in my view!).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest landmarks in music's recording history., 22 July 2013
This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
Haydn Complete Piano Trios Beaux Arts Trio

Meneham Pressler (pianoforte)
Isidore Cohen (violin)
Bernard Greenhouse (violincello)

The recordings were made in Switzerland between 1971 and 1976. This Philips compilation was released in 1991.

The fact that these discs are still available speaks for itself.

On Amazon UK the opinion is unanimous--all ten reviews have 5 star rating and I would wholeheartedly endorse this assessment. The picture is slightly different on Amazon,com with one dissenting voice giving a single star. (See my note in the comments section.)

Amazon themselves do a great job here too by giving a comprehensive listing of the trios featured, a luxury not always afforded their product data.

The discs are neatly packaged in 9 paper sleeves with an accompanying, informative 70 page booklet in four languages.

The title "Complete Piano Trios" is comprehensive rather than strictly accurate for two main reasons. First, the authenticity of some of the earlier works is open to debate. Second, the earlier works were written for harpsichord, the transition to piano (more accurately foretpiano) coming at around Hb XV11 within the mid-1780s.

In my review of the Joseph Haydn Piano Trios Vols. 1 & 2 Florestan Trio, 22 Dec 2011 I remark: With all this in mind one often senses a lack of adventure when groups come to record the Haydn Trios--after all, they have only to step back a few paces from "Gypsy Rondo et al" to confront some of the finest of Haydn, as in the D minor No.23 and E flat No.22.

The Beaux was the only collection of the trios that addresses this salient point. In more recent years we have a notable contribution from the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt who record 39 trios in two box sets each containing four discs.

There is no comparable collection of the trios on so-called period instruments.

In his The Piano Trio (O.U.P. 1990, Cahp. 5, page 97) Basil Smallman writes: The repertoire gained by the piano trio during the Viennese classical period up to the death of Schubert, though high in quality, is relatively modest in size. As a result largely of the genre's delayed origins, no more than two dozen first-rate trios produced (half of them Haydn's last works in the form) etc. . .

An earlier reviewer (Marcolorenzo) remarked on Robert Schumann's negative comment in respect of Haydn, which went something on the lines that the older composer had little or nothing to offer cotemporary composers of the Schumann era. This is quite extraordinary from the writer (Schumann) who quickly noted Johannes Brahms as a flowering genius. Brahms had a more enlightened view of Haydn who could be said to have informed the younger man in many aspects of composition not least the piano trio itself. (Sample the fine Haydn Hb.,XV.22 in E flat to get a whiff of Brahms!).

One would need many pages to do full justice both to the trios and to the Beaux Art Trio's rendering of them. As it is these recordings may be seen as one of the greatest landmarks in music's recording history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 13 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
An outstanding, near perfect performance of exceptional music: it will remain a classic cd set, a treasure to explore endlessly
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy, 4 Oct 2010
This review is from: Haydn: Complete Piano Trios (Audio CD)
This set is a constant and unfolding joy. It all sounds so simple and so light but one i taken into the depths almost without one noticing
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