Ensemble d’arco, HAYDN: Keyboard Concertinos / String Trios

Gavin Borchert

By Gavin Borchert

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Essentially the baryton’s entire surviving repertory all on one disc.

What is a baryton, anyway? It's a six-stringed cousin of the cello, an instrument that was obsolete almost as soon as it was invented — one that's now only ever mentioned in connection with Nicolaus Esterhazy, who seems to have been the instrument's sole enthusiast. Which means it was Haydn's job to write dozens of trios for him to play — essentially, creating the baryton's entire surviving (just barely) repertory. One pretty example is heard on this disc, played fluently by the Ensemble d'arco. Haydn also wrote a number of concertinos for piano — small-scale concertos with just a few instruments as accompaniment rather than a full orchestra. Charming examples of Haydn's lesser-known chamber music.