The brilliance of Beethoven is immediately recognisable in the grand opening statement of the Archduke Trio, the last and most enduring of his works for this genre. Perhaps the most beloved of all trios, the Archduke is at once symphony, opera and chamber conversation of the most intimate proportions.
In contrast, Beethoven’s Kakadu variations display the simplicity of an earlier style combined with more complex revisions made later in life. Mozart’s trio in E glows with the freedom of invention, from the concertante writing for keyboard to the new-age virtuosity of the supporting string lines.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano trio No.4 in E, K 542
Ludwig van Beethoven – Ten variations on ‘Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu’, Op. 121a
Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano trio No.7 in B flat, Op.97 ‘Archduke‘