Haydn’s Baryton Trios

When I was in DC this past September for InsideCatholic’s 14th Annual Partnership dinner, Deal introduced me to a truly extraordinary collection of music: Haydn’s Baryton Trios. (The baryton, a large viol-like bowed instrument, seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years — a fact attributed by some to the “immense difficult” required in playing it successfully.)

The 170+ baryton works composed for the instrument by Haydn were written for his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterh├ízy, who was particular fond of playing it. Of these 170+, one-hundred and twenty-six were written for the combination of viola, cello and baryton, spaning a creative period of nearly ten years (1766-1775.)

With the help of NaxosMusicLibrary and a wonderful YouTube playlist from the Esterhazy Ensemble that I was fortunate enough to stumble across, I’ve been listening to them almost non-stop for the last several months. They’re fantastic.

If anyone’s looking for a rewarding set of musical pieces with which to become more thoroughly acquainted for their New Year’s resolutions — I can’t be the only person that thinks cultivating musical appreciation is a legitimate resolution, can I? Wait. Don’t answer that. — here they are.

 

By

Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. Currently residing in Lander, Wyoming -- "where Stetsons meet Birkenstocks" -- he is a columnist for Crisis Magazine and the Patheos Catholic portal.

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