One is caught by the ease and rightness with which these men pass the music around The Irish composer Gerald Barry, listening to Haydn, observed how the composer had such a profoundly direct relationship with his material, pointing out the virtues of there being nothing between the listener and the music. He was talking of the Surprise Symphony, but his words might equally fit Haydn's three Flute Trios.

It certainly seems so in an eminently approachable new CD of these works, recorded by Naxos last June in Vienna's Mozarthaus with Uwe Grodd, Martin Rummel and Christopher Hinterhuber.

These musicians, both friends and colleagues, bring a sense of appropriate social occasion to this unfailingly sunny and no-nonsense music. Significantly, all trios are bright major-key affairs and very much centred around Hinterhuber's rippling piano.

From the start, one is caught by the ease and rightness with which these men pass the music around in the opening movement of the G major work. In its Andante, Haydn surprises with the occasional gruff chord, but one most remembers the smooth shadings in melodious thirds and sixths.

Grodd has a way with semiquavers, whipping them through the texture with an elegant nonchalance; all three musicians enjoy the insinuating chromaticism that occasionally snakes through the otherwise unruffled major ambience.

Martin Rummel's programme notes reveal a man hip to Haydn's special humour, detectable in the F major Allegro, where a playful echo could equally be heard as a piece of contrived counterpoint.

Haydn also turns up on String Trio Sapphires, featuring three Christchurch Symphony Orchestra players, banding together under the moniker of Tres Cordes String Trio.

The medium of violin, viola and cello is a particularly lovely one, the absence of a second violin lending a more transparent and leaner texture than the string quartet.

The playing is musicianly although not always free of passing roughness and not all the works measure up to the two Haydn pieces and the 1816 Schubert movement. Obscure scores by Karl Stamitz and Jan Kleczynski would have benefited from some information in a programme booklet that limits itself to players' bios.

Classic CDs
Haydn: Flute Trios (Naxos )
Stars: 5/5

Tres Cordes String Trio: String Trio Sapphires (Ode)
Stars: 3/5

Verdict: "New Zealanders pay tribute to lesser-known classics from Vienna and beyond."