Ludwig van Beethoven, BEETHOVEN: Archduke Trio / Kakadu Variations / Allegretto, WoO 39

James Jolly

By James Jolly

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Beethoven’s most popular piano trio sees delightfully good spirits prevail.

The Archduke (for violin, cello and piano) is Beethoven's most popular piano trio. It's not from the same mould as the great, powerful odd-numbered symphonies; instead, its demeanour is more serene, more poised and full of wonderful melody and imaginative deployment of this traditionally hard-to-balance line-up. The Stuttgart Trio enter into its spirit beautifully, never forcing the work to be what it isn't, and ever-conscious of its charm. The couplings, too, are very attractive: the little Allegretto and, above all, the Variations on "Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu," a delightful work that shows that Beethoven must have had a great sense of humour. He starts with work that harbours much pomp but as the ten variations unfold it is delightful good spirits that prevail!