Monday, December 20, 2010

Joseph Haydn - The Complete Piano Sonatas

2008; 10 discs, 159 tracks
Jenő Jandó, pianist

Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer of classical music, and is often credited as the "Father of the string quartet" and "Father of the symphony." He worked with many mediums, one of which being the keyboard, and became a leading figure of the classical period. His style is refined and unique, a fitting influence to the young classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. Haydn is often seen as a pioneer of classical music, one of the first to turn away from the confines of Baroque composing and produce elegant music of a more fine and regal quality.

Jenő Jandó is a Hungarian pianist and one of the first to record the complete Haydn sonatas on an actual piano, instead of a period instrument such as a fortepiano or a harpsichord. I haven't exactly listened to like 3 hours of another recording of these, so I took these as they were - as accurate and good as they can possibly be. If you've ever heard a Mozart or Beethoven sonata, don't expect these to be as dramatic. These are true pieces of the classic form written by a man of great taste and status. I'm no music critic, but Jandó does a very nice job of interpreting these simultaneously mature and capricious pieces, shaping them and giving form to seemingly plain material.

I found an interesting fact about the nature of the sonatas while looking this recording up:

"Haydn's music has been aptly characterized as being composed 'fur Kenner und Liebhaber' - for connoisseurs and amateurs. Many of these sonatas, ranging from the earliest to some late works, were written as teaching pieces with amateurs in mind. Other works were composed for the virtuoso performer. There is a similar range of intensity of feeling and musical complexity shown in these pieces. But in many of these works of whatever level, Haydn took the materials he was working with to write music of broad appeal. Taken as a whole, the sonatas show the slow, sure movement of a composer from rather slight, conventional works to music of great depth, feeling and originality."

Here you can find more information on the piano sonatas and the boxset. It's pretty difficult to tag these, as they have both a Hoboken number and a Landon marking. The Hoboken marking for Haydn's piano sonatas is "XVI," but that's not so important right now. I have included a correct tracklisting for the pieces in each of the links, so you may use that as a guide if you wish.

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
Disc 5
Disc 6
Disc 7
Disc 8
Disc 9
Disc 10


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