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Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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[Franz] Joseph HAYDN (1732 - 1809)
Complete Keyboard Music Volume 10: Airs, Variations and Dances

CD 1 (BIS-CD-1323) [64.09]
[1] Capriccio "Acht Sauschneider müssen seyn" in G, Hob. XVII/1 [7.16]
[2] Arietta con 12 variazioni in Eb, Hob. XVII/3 [13.59]
[3] Arietta con 12 variazioni in A, Hob. XVII/2 [9.21]
[4] Fantasia "Do Bäuren håt kåtz valorín" in C, Hob. XVII/4 [5.33]
[5] Six Easy Variations in C, Hob. XVII/5 [7.38]
[6] Andante con variazioni in f, Hob.XVII/6 [14.58]
[7] Adagio in F, Hob.XVII/9 [4.14]
CD2 (BIS-CD-1324A) [64.21]
[1] 20 Variations in G, Hob.XVII/2 [14.50]
[2] Andante con Variazioni in D, Hob.XVII/7 [4.11]
[3] Andantino (Allegretto) con Variazioni in A, Hob. XVII/8 [4.47]
[4] Allegretto in G, Hob. XVII/10 [1.47]
[5] Andante con Variazioni in Bb. Hob. XVII/12 [5.30]
[6] Aria con variazioni in C, Hob. XVII/15 [5.03]
[7] Adagio in G, Hob.XV/22II [4.39]
(First version of the second movement of the Piano Trio No.36 in Eflat major, Hob. XV/22)
[8] Allegretto con variazioni in A, Hob.XVII?A3 [6.12]
[9] Allegretto in G, Hob.III/41IV [2.14]
(Authentic [shortened] version of the finale of the String Quartet in G major, Op. 33 #5 (Hob.III/41)
[10] Var. über die Hymne "Gott erhalte Franz, den Kaiser" Hob. III/77II, in G [5.09]
(Authentic keyboard version of the 2nd, movement of the ĎEmperorí Quartet in C, Op.76 No.3)
[11] Il Maestro e lo Scolare, in F Hob. XVIIa/l (7 Variations & Tempo di Menuetto) [8.22]
La Parte del Maestro: Ronald Brautigam / La Parte dello Scolare: Ingo Petry
CD 3 (BIS-CD-1324B) [68.05]
[1] - [12] 12 Menuette, Hob.IX/11 [23.05]
[13]-[24] 12 Deutsche Tänze, Hob.IX/12 [7.37]
[25]-[36] 12 Menuette, Hob.IX/3 [13.40]
[37]-[48] 12 Menuette, Hob.IX/8 [14.55]
[49]-[50] 2 Märsche (for Sir Henry Harpur), Hob. VIII/l [3.02]
[51] Marsch, Hob.VIII/3/3bis [3.50]
[52] Kontretanz, Hob. XXXI/c: 17b [0.33]
Ronald Brautigam, fortepiano by Paul McNulty, 1992, after Walter, 1795
Recorded August 2002 at Länna Church, Sweden
Notes in English, Deutsch, Français. Photo of the artist.
[First 9 volumes in this series available on BIS 992/3/4, 1093/4/5, 1063/74, 1293/4.]
[Volume 11, final volume, is now available on BIS CD-1325]

 

Comparison Recordings:

Variations in G; in D: Derek Adlam, clavichord Guild GMCD 7260
Variations in G: in f: Joanna Leach, square piano CBS M2k 36947
Fantasia in C: András Schiff Warner Elatus 2564 60807-2

Persons who know Haydn only through his later symphonies and perhaps the oratorios may have formed a picture of him as stuffy and remote, and may be startled to hear that Haydn wrote simple keyboard pieces and variations on randy folksongs. In fact considering how his keyboard music ó including his chamber music for piano, and excepting, of course, the one keyboard concerto in d ó has been neglected for the last two centuries, until recently most music lovers would be surprised to know he wrote anything at all for keyboard. Some years ago his piano sonatas were "discovered" and even Glenn Gould recorded a set of them. Many pianists of note now have one disk at least of some late piano sonatas in their discography. And now we are very much in Ronald Brautigamís debt for bringing us the entire canon of keyboard works, great and small. Being a genial man who enjoyed pleasing people, Haydn was incapable of being stuffy or remote, so all of these works convey Haydnís sense of humour and skill at entertaining.

A set of works played by the same artist and recorded in a short space of time as this one is may have some disadvantages, but one great advantage is that the works can easily be compared to one another. Their similarity, or difference from each other, is made very clear. The disadvantage is that the uniqueness of each work is explored less than it would be if the artist played it by itself and made more of an individual study over time. A D.Mus. friend had one favourite Haydn piano sonata which he loved so much he played it for us very time we met (Hob XVI:50). Naturally with such concentrated and prolonged study, the work yielded many of its secrets to his eager fingers. Unfortunately that work is not included in this volume, for I would love to hear Brautigamís performance of it which would, I am sure, sound to me fresh and new.

Brautigamís instrument is brilliant and sounds like a small modern piano rather than having the bell-like, harp-like, sweetness and warmth of some fortepianos. Brautigamís technique is facile and brilliant making the most of the clarity of his instrument, which unfortunately has occasionally just a tiny bit of a ring in the middle register. Brautigamís Hob XVII:1 Sauschneider Variations is marginally more flexible than either Leach or Adlam, although Adlam gets going a nice landler stomp-and-swagger. Brautigamís Hob XVII:7 is also clearly the best version; he achieves a nice danceable lilt and almost a flamboyance with the soprano flourishes in the variations, even though Adlam is close behind. However, the exceptional Schiff performance of the Hob XVII:4 Fantasia in C however carries all before him.

Julius Wender in his notes to this Fantasia in C, asserts that the theme is original with Haydn, and not a folksong, whereas in the notes to the Schiff recording Mischa Donat gives us the title of a folksong ("The peasant woman has lost her cat..."). A reasonable resolution of this diversity would be to assume that the folksong may be unfamiliar to many scholars, or the tune may diverge sufficiently from the theme of the Fantasia that there may be some reasonable dispute as to whether they are in fact the same tune. For example, is the randy English ballad "My thing is my own ..." actually the theme of the variations movement of Mozartís A major piano sonata? I say yes, but nobody agrees with me.

But of course, no other artist plays all of the works that Brautigam does so a Haydn keyboard fanatic, such as myself, must have this set to hear all the music, and by also including more familiar works, the relationship between the familiar and unfamiliar works is made clear. And as we have seen, Brautigam is a superbly skilled and imaginative artist and evidences a great interest in these pieces, large and small.

Is Haydn really an interesting enough composer to want to listen through to three CDs of miscellaneous dances and variations? And this only one such set out of a total of eleven? Probably not for most average music lovers. Haydn would be the first to agree that some of these pieces are not his best music, and in fact some of these pieces are specifically teaching pieces, others, "first versions" or sketches which may have survived more or less accidentally. But of those many works on these disks which are first rate Haydn, we have here first rate performances that make me want to hear other volumes in this set.

Paul Shoemaker



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