Piano Trios Vol. 1

Beethoven’s three Piano Trios op. 1 were the first compositions that he deemed important enough to give an opus number.

The trios combine various elements that would have been familiar to Beethoven’s contemporaries. Less familiar, however, would be the fact that the trios contain four movements rather than the three that had been traditional in this genre. Although changes from major to minor had been common in the music of previous generations, where they would normally apply to just the last chord, Beethoven employs this technique more extensively here than was probably common at that time.

Much like op. 1, the Trio op. 11 is also connected to the Viennese nobility of the time. Beethoven cleverly dedicated it to Maria Wilhelmine Countess of Thun-Hohenstein. In other ways, too, Beethoven tried to make this a particularly attractive publication for the Viennese public: the trio could be performed with a clarinet instead of a violin, a flexible approach to instrumentation that would doubtless increase its marketability. In addition, the last movement consists of a theme from Joseph Weigl’s comic opera L’amor marinaro, followed by a series of variations. At the time when Beethoven wrote this trio, Weigl’s opera was very popular in Vienna. – From the booklet notes

‘The overwhelming quality of this new disc is a quite irresistible freshness: young man’s music, played with an inquisitive spirit, a spring-like clarity and (when necessary) a daredevil verve.’


‘An excitingly crafted, well balanced reading. In short: They got it just right! A most promising debut of a projected complete cycle.’ *****

‘Three early Beethoven Trios are translated to breathtaking conversations. The Van Baerle Trio brings the sparkling character of the youthful composer to fruition.’