Friday, 28 November 2008

204. Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Trio in B flat major, op. 97, "Archduke" (1811)


Title: Trios "Archduke" & "Ghost"
Performers: Beaux Arts Trio
Year: 1965
Length: 39 minutes


Piano trios are nice things, and this is one of the best. As I have repeatedly stated before chamber music is really not my favourite thing, I prefer solo or orchestral, the stuff in the middle doesn't click as much. But this is indeed a great trio.

Possibly the most famous of all piano trios, the "Archduke" is also one of Beethoven's more playful compositions. By this time he was completely deaf, and although he played on the opening night reports tell us he was banging the keys extremely hard. So it wasn't the best performance.

The Beaux Arts trio is certainly not composed of deaf people, and while historical authenticity might be being sacrificed in the case of the pianist it does sound better this way. Deaf pianists are sooooo 1810s. The first movement is particularly great fun. In the "Ghost" trio I said that the Cello was very much a support instrument, kind of doing the bass of the thing, here it is much more evenly spread between the three instruments, which is another one of the reasons it is so good. Recommended.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The piece plays a significant role in Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka on the Shore and in Elizabeth George's mystery novel A Traitor to Memory.

Fibonnaci trio plays part of the first movement:

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