These two sets of pieces by C.P.E. Bach, reasonably mixed here because it's hard to hear any stylistic difference between them, were published in London in 1776 and 1777. The Linos Piano Trio
calls them piano trios, but the original titles referred to sonatas for harpsichord or fortepiano (the first set) or keyboard sonatas (the second set) with violin and cello accompaniment. They were, in short, in the mode of Haydn
's trios except for the last few, where the violin and the cello get a few things to do but never break out independently. The genre's origins lie close to those of the musical mass market; the trios were written for middle-class home music-makers in fast-growing London to perform themselves, and they lack virtuoso elements. C.P.E. himself called the group "a non- or half-entity," a factor that may have contributed to the trios' almost total historical neglect. This said, however, it is typical of this restless composer that he could not resist a few experimental strokes. Listen to the opening Andante movement of the "Piano Trio in F major, Wq 91," which is bizarre even by C.P.E. Bach's usual standards. In general, the pieces are in the galant style rather than Sturm und Drang, and they're quite compact and elegant, giving an idea of what Mozart
meant when he said that no one who had listened to C.P.E. could fail to hear how he, Mozart, had been influenced by the German composer. The Linos Piano Trio performs on modern instruments, perhaps less desirable for this repertory (the "F major trio" mentioned above must have had a truly chilling effect when played on an early fortepiano), but the players give a historically informed performance with no extraneous Beethovenian gestures. A nice find that will please C.P.E. fans and many others.