HAYDN Joseph, Piano Trio E flat, Hob.XV:29

Poco allegretto 
Andantino ed innocentemente 
Finale. Presto assai 

In 1797, the London publisher Longman & Broderip published a set of ‘Three Sonatas for the piano-forte with an accompaniment for the violin & violoncello … dedicated to Mrs. Bartolozzi.’ The dedicatee was Therese Jansen (1770–1843), born in Aachen, who was a pupil of the pianist and composer Muzio Clementi and who met Haydn during his first London visit. In 1795 she married the art dealer Gaetano Bartolozzi and Haydn – on his second English visit – was one of the witnesses at their wedding. In 1797, Therese gave birth to a daughter who went on to have an important career as a singer and theatre manager: Lucia Elizabeth became better known as Madame Vestris, singing in the first English performances of many Rossini operas and in the world premiere of Weber’s Oberon. The same year as giving birth, Therese Jansen was the dedicatee of three of Haydn’s finest piano trios: the E flat Trio is the last in the set. 


The first movement moves with the steady tread of a delicate march, but with all sorts of rhythmic and harmonic subtleties that continually surprise, not least near the end where Haydn moves into some unexpected keys before an assertive close. The slow movement, in the completely unexpected key of B major, opens with a lilting, lyrical theme on the piano which is then taken up by the violin. With brilliant sleight-of-hand, Haydn shifts back to the home key of E flat major, ending on a dominant pedal to lead directly into the finale. This is a dazzling German dance, sometimes folkish in character, and full of Haydn’s irrepressible inventiveness. 


© Nigel Simeone


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