Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Complete Piano Sonatas

DISC 1 Î:
Sonata in B flat major, Hob. XVI/41 (ca 182/84)
Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI/16 (before 1766)
Sonata in B flat major, Hob. XVI/2 (before 1766)
Sonata in B minor, Hob. XVI/32 (1776)
Sonata in A flat major, Hob. XVI/46 (ca 1768)
DISC 2 Î:
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/33 (1771/73)
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/1 (before 1776)
Sonata in A major, Hob. XVI/12 (before 1776)
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/42 (ca 1782/84)
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/50 (1794/95)
DISC 3 Ï:
Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI/G1 (before 1766)
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/3 (before 1766)
Sonata in E major, Hob. XVI/13 (before 1766)
Sonata in A major, Hob. XVI/30 (1776)
Sonata in G minor, Hob. XVI/44 (1768/70)
Sonata in A flat major, Hob. XVI/43 (1771/73)
DISC 4 Ï:
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/10 (before 1766)
Sonata in A major, Hob. XVI/5 (before 1763)
Sonata in E major, Hob. XVI/22 (1773)
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/37 (1777/79)
Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI (49 (1789/90)
DISC 5 Ð:
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/7 (before 1766)
Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI/47 (before 1766)
Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI/23 (1773)
Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI/27 (1776)
Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI/52 (1794)
DISC 6 Ð:
Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI/11 (before 1766)
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/19 (1767)
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/35 (1779/79)
Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI/34 (1781)
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/51 (1794)
DISC 7 Ñ:
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/D1 (before 1766)
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/24 (1773)
Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI/25 (1773)
Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI/29 (1774)
Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI/39 (1780)
DISC 8 Ñ:
Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI/45 (1766)
Sonata in B flat major, Hob. XVI/18 (ca 1766/67)
Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI/38 (1777/79)
Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI/40 (ca 1782/84)
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/48 (1789)
DISC 9 Ò:
Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/21 (1773)
Sonata in C minor, Hob. XVI/20 (1771)
Sonata in A major, Hob. XVI/26 (1773)
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/4 (before 1776)
Sonata in E major, Hob. XVI/31 (1776)
Disc 10 Ò:
Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI/28 (1776)
Sonata in C sharp minor, Hob. XVI/36 (1777/79)
Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/14 (before 1766)
Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI/6 (before 1766)
Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI/9 (before 1766)
Sonata in G major, Hob. XVI/8 (before 1766)
Bart van Oort, fortepiano Î
Ursula Dütschler, fortepiano Ï
Stanley Hoogland, fortepiano Ð
Yoshiko Kojima, fortepiano Ñ
Riko Fukuda, fortepiano Ò
Recorded: Maria Minor, Utrecht, September/October 2000
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 99817 [647:13]



BUY NOW 

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Naxos, the most successful classical record company in the world, made its mark by releasing new recordings of high quality at super-budget prices. Brilliant Classics, relatively new to the industry, has been releasing a mix of reissued and new recordings of high quality at less than half the Naxos price. I am not expecting that Brilliant Classics will attain the stature of Naxos, but their box sets are very tempting and uniformly rewarding.

One of the companyís sets is the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas played by five different artists, each having 2 discs in the 10-disc box. Each artist is afforded a mix of early and mature Haydn works, which ensures greater programming variety for listeners.

Fortepianos are used exclusively and bring to Haydnís music a youthful vitality and range of colors that the modern piano canít quite match. Six different fortepianos are employed. Each one offers tangy and delicious tones that should appeal to all those who do not insist on the concert grand.

Overall, I also think highly of the five performers. They fully convey Haydnís sparkle, surprise, wit, detail, aristocracy, improvisation, and rhetorical bent. I could spend hours describing all the sonatas, the performances, and alternative recordings. Since time constraints do not allow such an expansive regime, Iíll simply give a few examples to indicate my pleasure with the recordings.

Bart van Oort, who has impressive credentials, plays on the first two discs. In 1986, he won first prize at the Mozart Fortepiano Competition in Brugge, Belgium and subsequently studied with Malcolm Bilson at Cornell University and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Historical Performance Practice in 1993. He has many recordings to his credit, including being one of the artists on the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas series on Claves. Currently, van Oort teaches fortepiano and lectures at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

Van Oort starts us off with the Sonata in B flat major, Hob. XVI/41, and it is a very pleasing beginning. He plays in a light and delicate manner, capturing Haydnís nuances, playfulness, and dignity. The 2nd Movement Largo of the Sonata in B flat major, Hob. XVI/2 is a particular early Haydn favorite of mine; the piece contains a strong degree of angst, and van Oort mines it expertly.

Although I love Alfred Brendelís performance of the Sonata in B minor, Hob. XVI/32, van Oort is a close second choice as he conveys the musicís sinister and exciting qualities in heaping quantities while never sounding heavy. In the 1st and 2nd Movements of the Sonata in A flat major, Hob. XVI/46, no artist makes the music more beautiful and pleading than van Oort.

Other exceptional aspects of van Oortís playing include the wonderful rhythmic vitality and bounce in the 1st Movement of the Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/33, his tenderness in the Adagio of the Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/1, and the effective rhetorical presentation and sense of improvisation in the 1st Movement of the Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/42 and the Adagio of the Sonata C major, Hob. XVI/50.

Overall, I have the highest admiration and affection for van Oortís performances. He gives us all that Haydn offers, and I consider him one of the finest Haydn performing artists in the world.

The next two discs are devoted to the performances of Ursula Dütschler who studied with Jörg Ewald Dähler, Kenneth Gilbert, and Malcolm Bilson. As with van Oort, Dütschler is one of the featured artists on the Beethoven/Claves series. Among her many highlights on the two Haydn discs, I am greatly taken with her reading of the 1st Movement of the Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/37; the music radiates a joy of life, and Dütschlerís exuberance is sure to put a smile on your face. The 2nd Movement "Largo e sostenuto" is also played superbly with a pensive approach placing top priority on Haydnís rhetorical elements. I have a slight preference for van Oort, but Dütschler more than satisfies my cravings.

Discs 5 and 6 are courtesy of Stanley Hoogland who is an early music specialist teaching at the Royal Conservatory of Music at The Hague and the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Exceptional performances continue with Hoogland as he starts off with a deliciously tangy and joyful performance of the Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI/7. When poignancy or melancholy are present, Hoogland digs deeply with superb accenting and inflections such as in the Adagios of the Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI/47 and the Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI/23.

The Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI/34 thrives on urgency and exuberance, and Hoogland conjures up high energy readings which penetrate the musicís core. He is also a pro at conveying the heroic swagger of Haydnís music as is evidenced by his performance of the Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI/51. By the time I was finished listening to Hooglandís two discs, I was a happy camper feeling at peace with the world. He is a very satisfying artist who deserves our attention.

Next on the program is Yoshiko Kojima who has studied with Stanley Hoogland and with Kyoko Ogawa who records for BIS. Kojima has recorded a few discs including the complete Beethoven works for piano and cello. She maintains the high standards of the three previous artists in the series and has the honor of performing the Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI/48 which has my favorite movement from all of Haydnís Piano Sonatas. It is the 1st Movement "Andante con espressione" where Haydnís superb rhetorical and improvisatory gifts reach their apex. Kojima takes full advantage and also offers intervals as meaningful as in the exceptional Alfred Brendel recording on Philips.

The last two discs belong to Riko Fukuda who also studied with Stanley Hoogland and has recorded discs of the works of Dussek and Pinto. Once again, excellent playing is the order of the day. I was initially a little turned-off by Fukudaís very slow tempo in the 1st Movement of the highly regarded Sonata in C minor, Hob. XVI/20, but further listening won me over; the slow tempo allows Fukuda to deeply penetrate the musicís drama and remorse.

In conclusion, this exceptional box set of the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas would be highly desirable at a premium price. Instead, we can have the set for no more than the cost of low-quality discs that donít even give the names of the performers or orchestras on the covers. The Haydn box set is a Ďstealí, and I urge all those who love Haydn or the fortepiano to add it to their music library.

Don Satz



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