The baryton (Part 4)

October 22, 2009

trio01_tn  Photo from website of Esterhazy Ensemble

Some notes-to-self on the structure of the pieces downloaded from the ‘net, from IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project), six specimens all arranged for ob/cor anglais and bassoon, i.e. two treble clefs and a bass. Basically I’m just testing some of the over-arching features of the Haydn baryton trios as described in the literature. Tomasini is not on the IMSLP list.

IMSLP 10741. No.1. B-flat. Three movements, Adagio/Menuet & Trio/Presto. Adagio – binary form, 2x14bb. Menuet& Trio, both binary, 2x8bb. Presto is gigue-like 6/8 time signature, 2x8bb.

IMSLP 11167. No.2. B-flat. Allegretto/Arioso: Adagio/Tempo di Menuet/Allegro di molto. Allegretto is a set of 5 variations on a two-section 16bb ‘theme’. Bass repeats the first section throughout; the viola is allowed some variety with some arpeggiation but otherwise all the variations are in the baryton, “breaking the ground”. The second half of the Arioso shows some display with octave leaps. Slurred triplets in all movements.

IMSLP 113672. No.3. B-flat. Allegretto/Menuet and Trio/Presto. A lot of interest in the viola part, which starts of a fugue in the second half of the 1st movt. Presto is almost entirely in crochets/quarter notes, so I guess this a no-speed-limit zone of sorts.

IMSLP 11716. No.4. B-flat. Moderato/Menuet-Allegretto and Trio/Allegro di molto. Lot of musical interest in the first movement, complete with a fugal start to the second section.

IMSLP 20080PMLP 46881. No.5. B-flat. Moderato/Adagio/Tempo di Menuet. Moderato in B-flat; Adagio in D; Tempo di Menuet in A. Shortish adagio with a long minuet without trio.

IMSLP 20081-PMLP 46883. No.6. Adagio piu tosto moderato/Menuet and Trio. Adagio is a set of variations, similar to #2 above, again where baryton breaks the notes into ever-smaller ones and viola provides contrast with arepggiation. Trio is unusual since most of the musical interest resides with the basso; this situation is reversed in the second half of the Trio where baryton does all the melodic work.

Baryton Trio No.110. Arr N. Luwin (Luwin Music). Judging by the first page – a Moderato (first) movt in Gmajor (range is from D to A (last fretted note on top string, so four strings in all). Arranged for three basses (treble and two bass clefs). The writing looks more advanced than the six above, with luscious scalar passages alternating between viola and baryton. Even the bass comes alive with similar runs and arpeggios in triplets.


* I have a horrible feeling the IMSLP have all been raised a semi-tone from the original and are all in fact in Amajor.

* I assume the two top lines actually sound an octave lower than written.

* top note of the baryton’s range in these pieces is a C, which is of a tone above the top fret of a top string tuned in d. Pretty safe territory, where you’d expect the equivalent in the treble part of say a Purcell or a Jenkins to go to and certainly a Marais piece de viole for bass to go past that again.

* lowest note in the baryton’s range in these pieces is E – so only the top three strings (E-A-d) come into play.

* little wonder that Sisman should have honed in on the use of variation. Haydn, like Beethoven, obviously excelled at this; by contrast, Tomasini uses none. I would have thought that variations were an important feature of keyboard performers of the time.

More info off the net…

Around 1700, a collection of ‘IX Partie’ composed by Johann Georg Krause was dedicated to the Duke of Wurttemberg. In the late C18, the instrument was used in the Vienna Opera House (compositions by Ariosti and JJ Fux). There are also documents of the Esterhazy Kappele (Andreas Lidl) travelling to Paris and London (e.g. Charles Burney describing a concert in London).



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