The baryton (Part 5)

October 24, 2009

baryton02_tn  Photo from Esterhazy Ensemble website

Regarding IMSLP 20080 – PMLP 46881, the first Moderato movement uses the theme from Gluck’s Orpheus & Eurydice, which was a very pleasant surprise. This and the other four involve the narrow range of little more than an octave, but the key of B-flat is not the most easy to negotiate, especially given the required slurs.  I found the Luwin arrangement in G major much more comfortable, but I note with some alarm that the original H11:110 was in the key of C, so I’ve no clear idea of how the parts were spread across their respective instruments – all playing at the (very) top of their range? I’ve noted that a Simrock edition of this baryton trio involves a transposition to Dmaj, which would put the top note (at least of the first page) up to E past the frets on the top string which I suppose puts it in the same range as Marais of several generations before. The Luwin arrangement follows the tradition of Haydn and his followers of writing in the treble clef sounding an octave below, but I gather the viola part is at no great distance at all from the baryton part. Obviously this equates to quite a dense sound – apart from all being in the bass register, the viola and baryton are hardly much more than an octave above the ‘cello so the baryton’s sympathetic strings help “push” the sonic feel of the “top” part above the rest.

So why these published arrangements of this particular trio, including a performance at the Esterhaza Haydn Festival earlier this year? Probably because of the Kuijken recording, made decades ago. I notice too a review by Lucy Robinson in Musical Times 122/1662 (Aug 1981):540 of trios 63,64,82,88,107,110 by the Esterhazy Baryton Trio.

Details of the Kuijken CD(s) reissue from 1977 and 1986, oddly named “Twelve Trios for transverse, flute, violin and violoncello” as follows:

* Divertimenti for fl/vln/vlc, H4: 6,7,8,9,10,11.

* Trios for bt/vla/vlc, H11: 82,100,103,109,110,118. Arranged for fl/vln/vlc on the basis that Haydn would have done so. In line with all sorts of assumptions made about this music – that Haydn hated composing them, that they were private music without consequence, etc. – these works were composed for eventual transposition to other forces, such as the ones found here.

Accent ACT 30007 (2006), see www.hbdirect.com. James Manheim has reviewed the discs for All Music Guide.

I’ll keep working on the arrangements that I’ve got. It’s a great pity that facsimiles of the originals aren’t more readily available, but I guess everything is deliberately and conscientiously kept under wraps as part of the 1968 Haydn Complete Works edition, with huge implications for wider exposure of the music, its performance by amateurs and for the long-term promotion of the instrument.

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