When I look back at the formation of Trio Goya, I can see that it was a direct outcome of my growing fascination with the fortepiano (the term we now use to encompass all forms of ‘early’ piano) and a desire to explore chamber music that had the fortepiano as a central feature. Having spent many years immersed in the Baroque period as a harpsichordist, it was somehow a natural progression to start uncovering the various worlds of the fortepiano and to team up with players who had also devoted themselves to their earlier versions of violin and cello. I consider myself enormously fortunate to own a beautiful fortepiano by Paul McNulty after Walter, 1795. This instrument provides the core of my always fascinating exploration with two musicians I am honoured to play with – Kati Debretzeni and Sebastian Comberti. We had all been for many years, participants in the large and rich pool of musicians exploring early instruments and it now feels inevitable that we would come together as a trio. We’re lucky enough to have a shared approach to our repertoire but also many of the other elements that make for a happy chamber group – a shared sense of humour, a desire to stay close to the languages of our composers while bringing ourselves into the equation and of course like most musicians the world over, a love of shared meals!

Trio Goya achieve a perfect instrumental balance in sensitive performances.


All three of us are probably most suited to playing live concerts and yet we have had two experiences of recording that stand out. Our recording of Haydn trios “The Heart of Invention”, was recorded in a studio best known for being much sought after by rock musicians. This was Real World Studios, the creation of Peter Gabriel, in the little village of Box, Wiltshire. Through my friendship with Peter, we were offered one of the smaller rooms at Real World. Our big concern was that it would be dry and totally unsuitable for our instruments and for the kind of listening we like to do which depends so much on a clear but generous acoustic. The opportunity was however too good to ignore and with the incredible skills and commitment of our producer, Nick Parker, we could relax and sink into three days in seclusion, able to record at any hour of day or night that we fancied, housed in comfortable accommodation and fed spectacularly well.

These are major works of endless fascination, which demand and deserve superb performers. Fortunately Trio Goya are such musicians. Those yet to experience the treasures of Haydn’s piano trios should immerse themselves in this very fine recording. Even avid collectors of the works will find much to surprise and delight them.

International Record Review

The next recording project was of the Beethoven opus 1 trios and in very different ways, we found ourselves in a place where we could concentrate without distraction and explore the music without feeling that every nuance had to be planned in advance. Once again we were in idyllic surroundings – Aldeburgh – and this time had the joy of recording in one of the truly most beautiful acoustics, the Britten Pears Auditorium at Snape. Once again, Nick Parker was our astute and generous producer. Once again, we had a support team that included the exquisite tuning of Edmund Pickering. This aspect of playing early pianos is crucial. We often feel that there is a fourth member of the trio and this is the person so skilfully staying on top of the tuning.

Unlike many period instrument groups, this outstanding ensemble shows not the slightest affectation or resorting to generic ‘bulging’ of notes, but rather plays with a naturalness and artless simplicity that make most modern outfits sound decidedly effortful and overwrought by comparison.

The two major-key, predominately sunny works that open op.1 respond instinctively to the Goya’s emotionally uncluttered, enchanting playing, which makes the emotional shockwaves generated by the C minor Trio even more keenly felt.

Without resorting to furrowed-brow histrionics, the players fully convey the intense sadness of the opening movement, employing gentle, exquisitely subtle pastel shadings.The recording is as lucid and immaculately balanced as the playing itself.

The Strad

Derek Warby
Trio Goya
Flat 4, 12 South Terrace, Littlehampton, BN17 5NZ
Tel +44 (0)1903 732141
Mob +44 (0)7973 381736