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Haydn Baryton Trios
Nos 27, 73, 87, 97 & 106

Netherlands Baryton Trio
Freek Borstlap (baryton) Helena van Tongeren (viola) and Jan Insinger(baroque cello)

et'cetera KTC 13134

Haydn in his early 30s was but a "liveried servant' instructed to compose baryton music for his master Prince Esterhazy, a keen - but inexpert - player of this obsolete instrument, for whom he wrote well over a hundred of these trios, plus some forty other works involving the instrument, which has numerous strings, both gut and wire.

They are pleasant tafelmusik which we have enjoyed over our meals, but with some puzzlement as to who in the busy ensemble we were hearing when?

This CD is a near miss; good playing and recording of examples from this Haydn byway, but lost opportunities in the presentation.

A page of one of the scores reproduced in the booklet could have made all clear. The cover photo is, unbelievably, a picture from the Louvre of the marquise de Pompadour, minus her head !

However, generous help via the internet is at hand for our readers. Start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baryton and navigate to http://www.viola-da-gamba.com/id53.htm, where you will watch a video clip the Esterhazy Baryton Trio in action, making it clear that the viola drives most of the music, accompanied by the cello and the baryton...

What a pity that none of Haydn's solos were included instead of one of the five little trios? But surf on and you will discover that the Esterhazys will be releasing ALL Haydn's baryton works next year; that you can enjoy Roland Hutchinson's demonstration of the full scope of this remarkable instrument on its own which reveals all, and finally that there is a flourishing Baryton Society.

When will someone start doing something similar for Schubert and his bowed-guitar the arpeggione ?

Vivaldi Bassoon Concertos etc
Franz Robert Berkhout (baroque bassoon) with La Suave Melodia

et'cetera 1324

Also from et'cetera, an intriguing Vivaldi disc featuring some of the numerous concertos he wrote for the baroque bassoon (no information has been found to explain their existence) and which presents the bassoon also varied with flute & violins and a cantata, with a good counter-tenor, Clint van der Linde.

Very enjoyable.

Peter Grahame Woolf