American Record Guide

Haydn probably composed the London trios for two flutes and cello during an extended stay in London in 1794. Numbers 1 and 2 are three movement works; 2 and 4 are fragments. They are charming, enjoyable works, apparently written for the strong amateur market of the time. Haydn’s craft and skill is evident, but these are not his most profound or challenging chamber works.

This period-instrument performance involves one-keyed wood flutes, challenging instruments to master. Holliday and Harrison play with accuracy and elegance. After hearing this refined, polished performance, I admit I like the London trios more than I used to. Take away the vibrato and strident tone of the modern flute, and these pieces sparkle and sing.

Carl Stamitz (1741-1801) had a famous musical father – Johann Stamitz, leader of the storied Mannheim orchestra. Carl’s career was limited to brief stints in various cities after leaving Mannheim in 1770. Thirty years passed without a permanent position. 21st century musicians frustrated by limited employment opportunities can take some small comfort in knowing things were not much different in the 18th century. Not everyone landed the plush gigs like Haydn. The Stamitz Trio and Duo were published around 1785. Like the Haydn trios, they are charming, light works.

This is another delightful period-instrument performance. I do not think I can go back to playing this music on modern instruments. This recording convinced me that the one-keyed flute is ideal. If you have not experienced this for yourself, it is worth finding.