Haydn PLUS!

Artwork by Ian Hill-Smith
Artwork by Ian Hill-Smith

Haydn PLUS! featured the complete works for piano trio by the inestimable Joseph Haydn, tracing some thirty years of his illustrious career over twenty concerts

The Pleyel Ensemble are delighted to announce that following the great success of our “Mozart Plus!” series which ran from June 2013 to June 2016 we have now completed our latest project; “Haydn Plus!” . This featured the complete works for piano trio by the inestimable Joseph Haydn, tracing some thirty years of his illustrious career over twenty concerts. The trios were accompanied by letters and other contemporary writings, putting the music into the wider context of his life and were performed by Sarah Ewins, Heather Bills and Harvey Davies. Jonathan Rimmer joined Heather and Harvey for the three flute trios.


Each concert featured contrasting chamber music by other composers for a variety of instrumental combinations. Scroll down to view the archive of our entire series.

Please be aware our Haydn PLUS! concerts ran from Sept 2016 – May 2019 . You can read up on each of them below! Please revisit this page for further updates on our scheduling.

Photos © Mary Davies Photography

Previous Concerts

As we reach the end of our exploration of Haydn’s piano trios we thought it appropriate to conclude with his final thoughts in the genre; the masterful Trio in Eb Hob. XV:29 and the evergreen, ever-popular ‘Gypsy Rondo’ in G, Hob. XV:25. Today’s Plus! is the trio in Eb, Op. 31 no. 3, B. 467, by Haydn’s star pupil and the composer for whom we are named, Ignaz Pleyel. Dedicated to Miss Eugenie Beaumarchais, the music is indebted to Haydn, respects Mozart and looks forward to Beethoven.

What fun we have had playing so much wonderful music and to have such enthusiastic and loyal support. As a mark of thanks and appreciation to our wonderful audience we invite you to stay and have a glass of bubbles with us.

For the last of the set of three trios for flute, cello and piano written in 1790, Hoboken XV:17 in F, the wonderful Jonathan Rimmer joins Harvey and Heather again. Also today a work by the teacher of Mendelssohn and great pianist, Ignaz Moscheles; the 4 Divertissements, one of which is based on a theme of Haydn for flute and piano. We conclude with a beautiful flute sonata by Baroque  composer Johann Joachim Quantz and the Sonate en Concert by Jean-Michel Damase, a fabulous piece of French Baroque pastiche!

Today’s concert includes another three of the Master’s works. Trios in E, Hoboken XV:34, D, Hoboken XV:24 (one of the great, late trios for his mistress Rebecca Schroeter) and G, Hoboken XV:5. The PLUS! is a real rarity; the Sonata Sentimentale, Op. 120 by Carl Czerny for the highly unusual combination of piano duet, violin and ‘cello. We are delighted to welcome Harvey’s mother and duet partner, Helen, to join us.

Another two masterworks in the programme, Hoboken XV:1 in G minor – one of very few minor key trios by Haydn – and one of his last and very greatest; the C major, Hoboken XV:27.  The PLUS! is Ernest ‘Jack’ Moeran’s string trio written in 1931 for the famous Pasquier Trio. A wonderful work with an unusual opening movement in 7/8.

We have three wonderful trios by JH today, those in Eb, Hoboken XV:22, A, Hoboken XV:9 and G, Hoboken XV:41. The PLUS! is a selection of Frank Bridge’s delightful Miniatures for piano trio written for one of his pupils and her sister which we will interpolate with the Haydn. The Bridge Miniatures were suggested by audience member Mary Anderson.

Trios in F minor, Hoboken XV:f1 and the magnificent Eb, Hoboken XV:30 and today’s PLUS! – perhaps appropriately for Halloween – Beethoven’s out-of-this-world  ‘Ghost’ Trio, Op. 70, no. 1 in D. (excuse the pun!)

We are delighted to announce that this concert is sponsored by:

John Whibley “Holidays with Music” Please click on the link to explore their exciting holidays.

We begin with Haydn trio Hoboken XV:14 in Ab and end the programme with one of the greatest of his trios, Hoboken XV:28 in E. As the PLUS! the trios are paired with a contrasting, short work; today it’s William Mathias’s dynamic piano trio from 1965 (Mathias wrote the Wedding Anthem for Prince Charles’ and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding in 1981).

Back to the piano for this concert with another two wonderful trios; in Eb Hob.XV:11 and in Bb Hob.XV:20. To conclude the season’s concerts our second half is the tragic and powerful Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60 by Brahms and we are delighted, once again, to welcome our superstar violist Susie Mészáros to join us.

We explore two more of Haydn’s early piano trios with harpsichord instead of piano as this was the instrument he wrote for in the 1760s. The second half will feature music by Telemann; one of his recently rediscovered Fantasias for viola da gamba and the astonishing sonata in E major for keyboard and violin by J. S. Bach.

Today’s Haydn trios are those in F major Hob.XV:6 and G minor Hob.XV:19. They date from 1784 and 1793 respectively. The Plus! includes Ravel’s remarkable and virtuosic Duo for violin and cello. Looking forward to seeing you all!

An early Haydn trio first on the programme today; Hoboken XV:38 in Bb major. This sparkling work contrasts with the trio in F sharp minor from 1795, Hoboken XV:26, a work of of profundity and beauty. Today’s PLUS is the piano quartet by Arnold Cooke completed in 1949 but lost until Harvey rediscovered a copy of the manuscript recently. We are giving the first performance of the quartet for some thirty years and are pleased to be joined by our violist Susie Mészáros.

Jonathan Rimmer joins Heather and Harvey today for the second of Haydn’s wonderful trios with flute instead of violin. This one, in G major, Hob XV:15 dates from 1790 and it will be paired with a trio by our namesake and Haydn’s star student, Ignaz Pleyel. Come and hear how the master’s voice makes itself heard through his pupil, and how Pleyel cleverly blends it in his own unique way to fashion a style of Mozartian beauty and Haydnesque wit!

Just one Haydn trio on this morning’s programme, that in C minor from 1789, Hob XV:13, as we are pairing it with Beethoven’s mighty ‘Archduke’ Trio, Op. 97. So called because of the dedicatee of the trio, Archduke Rudolf of Austria, it is Beethoven’s final contribution to the piano trio genre and what a way to sign off! Written only twenty one years after Haydn’s C minor trio and a year after Haydn’s death, this work belongs to a different age. Technically challenging to play, this is some of the greatest chamber music ever written and, like so much of Beethoven’s music, remains as relevant and modern as it was 200 years ago.

Two more Haydn Trios Hob XV:35 in A and Hob XV:32 in G are paired with the exciting Piano Trio by Arnold Cooke written aboard a Royal Naval ship between 1941 and 1944 during the composer’s years of wartime service. A work of great power and energy reflecting the circumstances of its composition, Cooke’s Trio deserves to be better known and draws on musical influences as diverse as Mozart, Brahms and Hindemith.

Today we will play another pair of trios, those in Eb minor/major, Hob. XV:31 and D major, Hob XV:7. In XV:31 Haydn explores the extremely remote and unusual key of Eb minor in this extraordinary trio dating from 1795. For audiences and musicians of the period this would have been shocking, introducing them to new timbres and colours – this key is still rarely used today! The D major dates from 1785 and, after a beautiful set of Variations and a poignant Andante in D minor, concludes with a typically fresh and vibrant Rondo. Susie Mészáros joins us again for Schumann’s ever-popular Piano Quartet in Eb from 1842.

Haydn Trios Hoboken XV:18 & XV:21  PLUS the luscious early quartet for piano and strings, Op. 15, by Gabriel Fauré. The two trios were written for the wives of the Princes Anton and Nicholas Esterházy respectively. Always imaginative, never conventional, Haydn’s music bristles with beauty, wit and charm and is a delight to hear and play! For the Fauré, Sarah, Heather and Harvey are delighted to be joined, as ever, by violist Susie Mészáros.

Haydn Trios Hoboken XV:8 & XV:10 PLUS Mendelssohn piano trio in C minor, Op. 66. The powerful Mendelssohn Op. 66 is today’s partner for another two magic Haydn trios from 1784 and 1785 respectively. After a fiery start, a glorious slow movement and lightening-fast scherzo, Mendelssohn returns to a stormy, albeit life- and, for him, faith-affirming finale with its Lutheran chorale theme presented in a blaze of glory!

The little-heard but beautiful piano trio by Danish composer Niels Gade is today’s “Plus!”. Gade was friends with Mendelssohn and succeeded him as Principal Conductor at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1847 following the former’s death. This work is partnered by another two of Haydn’s trios; Hoboken XV:36 in Eb and Hoboken XV:23 in D minor. Yet again we have been astonished by Haydn’s ever-fresh imagination and invention in these two marvellous works!

Haydn Trios Hoboken XV:40 & XV:16 PLUS Martinu Trio for flute, ‘cello & piano. As we are including the three Haydn trios for flute instead of violin in this series we are joined today by our flautist Jonathan Rimmer for the D major Haydn trio followed by the wonderful, witty and beautiful Martinu Trio written in 1944 for the same combination of instruments.

Haydn Trios Hoboken XV:37 & XV:12 PLUS Beethoven piano trio, Op. 1, no. 2 in G. We begin this exciting new series with two contrasting trios by Haydn pairing them with a work by the young Beethoven composed while he was studying with the great genius Haydn.