The Seraphim Trio, comprising pianist Anna Goldsworthy piano, violinist Helen Ayres and cellist Timothy Nankervis, has released a new recording Beethoven’s Piano Trios on ABC Classics.
Considered to be amongst the finest works in the chamber canon, Beethoven’s piano trios take the form devised by Mozart and Haydn and develop it into a musical genre which reached symphonic proportions in its musical language and virtuosity.
The album of 10 tracks, combines two early trios with the later Ghost trio, showcasing the radical development of Beethoven’s style. The opening trio, Op.1 No.2, was written in 1795, when Beethoven was just 23 years old, and shows the influence of both Haydn (in its wit and surprise) and Mozart (in its lyricism – particularly evident in the sublime slow movement).
Written just two years later, the Op.11 trio earns its nickname Gassenhauer, or ‘street hit’, from its final movement, a delightful set of variations on Joseph Weigl’s song Pria ch’io l’impegno (Before I go to work I must have something to eat).
By 1808, when the Ghost trio was written, Beethoven’s musical language had developed dramatically – and the piano trio, as the Seraphim’s pianist Anna Goldsworthy comments, ‘had now become the repository of some of his largest ideas’. ‘Over the previous decade,’ Goldsworthy continues, ‘Beethoven had been conducting his experiments with piano sonority, realised most completely in the proto-impressionistic slow movement. This spectral, eerie sound world, never previously inhabited by humans, is the source of the trio’s nickname Ghost.’
This album grew out of the Seraphim’s Beethoven Immersion project in 2015, when they performed the complete Beethoven trios in venues around Australia – including complete cycles in Tasmania and South Australia, and pop-up performances in libraries, museums, art galleries and train stations.
The Seraphim Trio’s CD, Beethoven Piano Trios was recorded by Virginia Read in Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo, May 2015.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN 1770–1827
Piano Trio in G major, Op. 1 No. 2
1. I. Adagio – Allegro vivace/ 2. II. Largo con espressione/ 3. III. Scherzo: Allegro/ 4. IV. Finale: Presto
Piano Trio in D major, Op. 70 No. 1 ‘Ghost’
5. I. Allegro vivace e con brio/ 6. II. Largo assai ed espressivo/ 7. III. Presto
Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 11
8. I. Allegro con brio/ 9. II. Adagio/ 10. III. Tema con variazioni (‘Pria ch’io l’impegno’): Allegretto
Album available February 5 2016. ABC 4811980