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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Vivaldi Project, Discovering the Classical String Trio, Volume Three, Antes, Hoffmeister, Hofmann, etc.


Years ago I came upon an LP of Classical Period String Quartets by composers not all that familiar to me (or as it turned out, the world). It was a rather marvelous collection of finely crafted chamber gems played with a lot of brio and energy. It was fun. Now these many years later I received a new CD by the Vivaldi Project entitled Discovering The Classical String Trio, Volume Three (MSR Classics MS1623). I've been listening and, quite happily, it is the String Trio equivalent of that old LP. The music again is finely crafted and there is plenty of gusto and brio on the performances by the Vivaldi Project.

The performers give us an insight into their reasoning for this comprehensive multi-volume collection of trios. Most thinking, they note on the dust jacket, about the Classical Era assumes the String Quartet as primary and the String Trio as a kind of minor afterthought, as a sort of quartet minus one. The Vivaldi Project counter with the idea that given the popularity of the Trio Sonata in the Baroque period, one might instead understand the String Trio to be the more readily institutionalized form, the logical culmination from Baroque to Classical, with the quartet beginning in this period as a sort of trio plus one. With the carefully enthusiastic readings of the seven trios here they make a case for the primacy of the trios as flourishing nicely at that point.

So the program explores multi-movement trio works by Giovanni Battista Sammartini, , Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen, John Antes, Francesco Zannetti, Franz Anton Hoffmeister, Leopold Hofmann. and Paul Wranitzky. I must say I am not very familiar with any of these composers but the music is worthwhile. Volumes 1 and 2 have some of the more obviously familiar names. I reviewed Volume 1 some time ago--see the posting of August 31, 2016 for the first volume review. Volume 3 is all the more a discovery given the relative obscurity of the names. Either way you get beautiful performances and the works are very enjoyable.

All told this is a fine volume that anyone who loves Classical form and engaged performances will gravitate towards. High recommendations.

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