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Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Complete Music for Solo Keyboard
Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano - Paul McNulty, after Anton Walter, ca. 1795)
rec. 1998-2002, Länna Church, Sweden. DDD
BIS BIS-CD-1731/33 [15 CDs: 17:04:37]
Experience Classicsonline

Haydn wrote a huge amount of music, and among his oeuvre is a tremendous collection of solo keyboard music. From his early, youthful, divertimento-style pieces to his later large-scale works, Haydn’s keyboard output covers a wide range of styles and techniques. For years, Ronald Brautigam has been recording these works on fortepiano, and Bis has released them in individual volumes or multi-disc sets. Finally, the Swedish label has released a boxed set of all fifteen discs of these works at a bargain price.
 
Unlike the original CDs, these works are “in order”. In other words, they follow the number order of the sonatas - though the Hoboken numbers are not in the same order. In the original releases, Bis started with the “meatier” later sonatas, beginning with numbers 48 through 62 for the first three CDs. They also relegated the early works and the “miscellaneous” works to two 3-CD sets released near the end. Those latter non-sonata works appear here at the end of the series as well. And, in both releases, the pièce de résistance is the keyboard version of the Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross.
 
The liner-notes separate these works into four groups: the youthful works, sonatas 1 to 18, which betray youth and simplicity. These are very much like early Mozart: pretty music, but not much that you’d want to listen to often. They are all competently composed, but lack the character and depth of the later works. The second group is the “‘difficult’ large-scale sonatas”, numbers 19 to 33. You should note that numbers 21 to 27 are lost; only opening bars of these works are extant. The third group, that the notes call “ambitious and popular”, cover numbers 34 to 56, and are probably the meat of the set. This is Haydn at his most proficient, and his most challenging. There is a wide variety of works in this group. Finally, after 1784, Haydn paid less attention to solo keyboard works and composed a number of piano trios. Only six sonatas date from this final period. The last three sonatas are among the best of Haydn’s work, and were composed while he was in London, where he discovered John Broadwood’s pianos. To quote the liner-notes, “More robust, more powerful than those in use in Vienna, and with an expanded upper register, they permitted for instance hitherto unknown pedal effects.” Finally, the three CDs of “miscellaneous” works include compositions from different periods. These range across several series of small minuets and German dances to a late capriccio. The last disc contains a piano version of the Seven Last Words, not by Haydn himself, but seemingly contemporary.
 
Brautigam is a master of the fortepiano, and he plays these works with authority and passion. He uses a single instrument by Paul McNulty for all the works, which gives this set a unity that other collections may not have. Christine Schornsheim’s set on Capriccio, for example, features several instruments: harpsichord for four discs of early works, both sonatas and other works, and one disc on clavichord. The Brilliant Classics set of complete sonatas (but not other works) features a number of different performers on different instruments, providing more variety, but less homogeneity. The harpsichord in the Schornsheim set places the early works more in their context, for it is probable that Haydn did compose them on and for that instrument, and they do sound idiomatic on harpsichord.
 
Brautigam’s performances of these works are convincing, and, in the later works, close to masterly. His proficiency in the idioms of these works is apparent, and his technique flawless. While he may not always sound as expressive as possible, this may be, in part, due to the fortepiano itself. Unless one is an unconditional lover of the instrument, it is always “different” from the piano sounds we know intuitively. But the instrument Brautigam uses has a luscious tone, and it grows on the listener. My only gripe is with the recordings themselves. Recorded in a church, the instrument takes on a dry, hollow sound, unlike that of the drawing room or small hall where these works would have been played. This is most obvious when listening on headphones. It sounds as if artificial reverb has been added, and the treble has been dampened in more complex passages. This is a shame, because listening to a fortepiano on headphones brings out all the instrument’s nuances, but the reverb is too disturbing to do so for long. Nevertheless, this reverb is less obvious when listening on speakers, so it’s probably not a reason to avoid this wonderful set.
 
While one may not want to listen to the earliest works very often, or the “little pieces” on disc 14, Brautigam makes this listener want to come back often to the heart of the collection: the sonatas from number 28 to 62. He plays all these works with great perception and clearly loves this music. This is a benchmark recording of these works. Brautigam should be praised for these performances. They bring the fortepiano back to the forefront for this music. Take out any of the eight discs of these works and you’ll have a fine listening session. In addition to this being a great set, its budget price (15 discs for about the price of 3) makes this a must-have. If you’re not familiar with the fortepiano in this repertoire, this will be a unique discovery. If you like the instrument, and if you already know Brautigam’s other masterful recordings of Mozart (complete keyboard works) and Beethoven (complete keyboard works, in progress), you’ll want to add this to your collection.
 
A wonderful set of Haydn’s keyboard works played on fortepiano. For fans of the instruments or neophytes, this is a bargain not to be missed ... see Full Review
 
Kirk McElhearn
 
Full track-list

CD 1:
Sonata No.1 in G major, Hob.XVI:8
  1.            I. Allegro               2.10
  2.            II. Menuet             0.56
  3.            III. Andante          1.02
  4.            IV. Allegro             0.36
 
Sonata No.2 in C major, Hob.XVI:7
  5.            I. Allegro moderato              1.05
  6.            II. Menuet - Trio   2.05
  7.            III. Finale. Allegro                1.20
 
Sonata No.3 in F major, Hob.XVI:9
  8.            I. Allegro               2.02
  9.            II. Menuet - Trio   2.46
  10.          III. Scherzo. Allegro             0.47
 
Sonata No.4 in G major, Hob.XVI:G1
  11.          I. Allegro               3.25
  12.          II. Menuetto/Trio 2.23
  13.          III. Finale. Presto  1.21
 
Sonata No.5 in G major, Hob.XVI:11
  14.          I. Presto 1.23
  15.          II. Andante            4.21
  16.          III. Menuet - Trio 2.31
 
Sonata No.6 in C major, Hob.XVI:10
  17.          I. Moderato           3.10
  18.          II. Menuet - Trio   2.45
  19.          III. Finale. Presto  2.45
 
Sonata No.7 in D major, Hob.XVI:D1
  20.          Tema. Moderato – Variation 1 – Variation 2 – Variation 3             3.42
  21.          II. Menuet             0.52
  22.          III. Finale. Allegro                1.41
 
Sonata No.8 in A major, Hob.XVI:5
  23.          I. Allegro               5.54
  24.          II. Menuet - Trio   2.13
  25.          III. Presto               3.34
 
Sonata No.9 in D major, Hob.XVI:4
  26.          I. [Moderato]        5.13
  27.          II. Menuet - Trio   2.42
 
CD 2:
Sonata No.10 in C major, Hob.XVI:1
  1.            I. Allegro               2.50
  2.            II. Adagio              2.50
  3.            III. Menuet - Trio 2.38
 
Sonata No.11 in B flat major, Hob.XVI:2
  4.            I. Moderato           6.34
  5.            II. Largo 4.54
  6.            III. Menuet - Trio 3.29
 
Sonata No.12 in A major, Hob.XVI:12
  7.            I. Andante             4.24
  8.            II. Menuet - Trio   3.01
  9.            III. Finale. Allegro molto     1.30
 
Sonata No.13 in G major, Hob.XVI:6
  10.          I. Allegro               5.41
  11.          II. Menuet - Trio   3.34
  12.          III. Adagio             2.58
  13.          IV. Finale. Allegro molto     2.18
 
Sonata No.14 in C major, Hob.XVI:3
  14.          I. Allegretto           4.15
  15.          II. Andante            5.24
  16.          III. Menuet - Trio 2.46
 
Sonata No.15 in E major, Hob.XVI:13
  17.          I. Moderato           4.26
  18.          II. Menuet - Trio   2.37
  19.          III. Finale. Presto  2.28
 
CD 3:
Sonata No.16 in D major, Hob.XVI:14
  1.            I. Allegro moderato              6.36
  2.            II. Menuet - Trio   3.15
  3.            III. Finale. Presto [Allegro] 3.01
 
Sonata No.17 in E flat major, Hob.XVI:Es2
  4.            I. Moderato           7.25
  5.            II. Andante            4.20
  6.            III. Menuetto - Trio              2.58
 
Sonata No.18 in E flat major, Hob.XVI:Es3
  7.            I. Allegro               8.22
  8.            II. Menuetto - Trio               3.22
 
Sonata No.19 in E minor, Vol./Cf. Hob. XIV/47
  9.            I. Adagio               4.22
  10.          II. Allegro              5.00
  11.          III. Finale. Tempo di Menuet              3.12
 
Sonata No.20 in B flat major, Hob.XVI:18
  12.          I. Allegro moderato              7.08
  13.          II. Moderato          9.08
 
CD 4:
Sonata No.28 in D major, Hob. XVI:5a
  1.            I. Moderato           7.18
  2.            II. Menuet - Trio   5.08
 
Sonata No.29 in E flat major, Hob. XVI:45
  3.            I. Moderato           9.16
  4.            II. Andante            8.15
  5.            III. Finale. Allegro di molto 5.13
 
Sonata No.30 in D major, Hob. XVI:19
  6.            I. Moderato           10.43
  7.            II. Andante            12.08
  8.            III. Finale. Allegro assai      2.58
 
CD 5:
Sonata No.31 in A flat major, Hob. XVI:46
  1.            I. Allegro moderato              12.31
  2.            II. Adagio              9.42
  3.            III. Finale. Presto  3.51
 
Sonata No.32 in G minor, Hob. XVI:44
  4.            I. Moderato           10.15
  5.            II. Allegretto         3.42
 
Sonata No.33 in C minor, Hob. XVI:20
  6.            I. Moderato           11.52
  7.            II. Andante con moto          7.29
  8.            III. Finale. Allegro                6.21
 
CD 6:
Sonata No.34 in D major, Hob. XVI:33
  1.            I. Allegro               8.22
  2.            II. Adagio              5.01
  3.            III. Tempo di Menuet          3.52
 
Sonata No.35 in A flat major, Hob. XVI:43
  4.            I. Moderato           8.49
  5.            II. Menuetto – Trio              2.05
  6.            III. Rondo              4.07
 
Sonata No.36 in C major, Hob. XVI:21
  7.            I. Allegro               8.15
  8.            II. Adagio              7.53
  9.            III. Finale. Presto  2.42
 
Sonata No.37 in E major, Hob. XVI:22
  10.          I. Allegro moderato              8.07
  11.          II. Andante            6.08
  12.          III. Finale. Tempo di Menuet              3.36
 
CD 7:
Sonata No.38 in F major, Hob. XVI:23
  1.            I. [Moderato]        7.12
  2.            II. Adagio              6.41
  3.            III. Finale. Presto  3.15
 
Sonata No.39 in D major, Hob. XVI:24
  4.            I. Allegro               7.12
  5.            II. Adagio              3.32
  6.            III. Finale. Presto  2.09
 
Sonata No.40 in E flat major, Hob. XVI:25
  7.            I. Moderato           8.49
  8.            II. Tempo di Menuet            2.05
 
Sonata No.41 in A major, Hob. XVI:26
  9.            I. Allegro moderato              8.33
  10.          II. Menuet al rovescio – Trio (al rovescio)      2.21
  11.          III. Finale. Presto  0.44
 
Sonata No.42 in G major, Hob. XVI:27
  12.          I. Allegro               5.00
  13.          II. Menuet - Trio   4.20
  14.          III. Finale. Presto  2.46
 
CD 8:
Sonata No.43 in E flat major, Hob. XVI:28
  1.            I. Allegro moderato              9.00
  2.            II. Menuet - Trio   3.17
  3.            III. Finale. Presto  3.07
 
Sonata No.44 in F major, Hob. XVI:29
  4.            I. Moderato           8.16
  5.            II. Adagio              5.08
  6.            III. Tempo di Menuet          4.17
 
Sonata No.45 in A major, Hob. XVI:30
  7.            I. Allegro – II. Adagio         6.18
  8.            III. Tempo di Menuet          6.09
 
Sonata No.46 in E major, Hob. XVI:31
  9.            I. Moderato           7.14
  10.          II. Allegretto         2.40
  11.          III. Finale. Presto  1.57
 
Sonata No.47 in B minor, Hob. XVI:32
  12.          I. Allegro moderato              7.30
  13.          II. Menuet. Tempo di Menuet            3.12
  14.          III. Finale. Presto  4.08
 
CD 9:
Sonata No.48 in C major, Hob. XVI:35
  1.            I. Allegro con brio                7.24
  2.            II. Adagio              6.22
  3.            III. Finale. Allegro                2.40
 
Sonata No.49 in C sharp minor, Hob. XVI:36
  4.            I. Moderato           10.15
  5.            II. Scherzando. Allegro con brio        2.47
  6.            III. Menuet. Moderato        3.22
 
Sonata No.50 in D major, Hob. XVI:37
  7.            I. Allegro con brio                5.49
  8.            II. Largo e sostenuto           2.32
  9.            III. Finale. Presto ma non troppo       2.39
 
Sonata No.51 in E flat major, Hob. XVI:38
  10.          I. Allegro moderato              8.52
  11.          II. Adagio              3.53
  12.          III. Finale. Allegro                2.42
 
Sonata No.52 in G major, Hob. XVI:39
  13.          I. Allegro con brio                3.51
  14.          II. Adagio              6.18
  15.          III. Prestissimo      3.53
 
CD 10:
Sonata No.53 in E minor, Hob. XVI:34
  1.            I. Presto 4.45
  2.            II. Adagio              4.51
  3.            III. Vivace molto   3.07
 
Sonata No.54 in G major, Hob. XVI:40
  4.            I. Allegretto innocente        7.25
  5.            II. Presto                2.41
 
Sonata No.55 in B flat major, Hob. XVI:41
  6.            I. Allegro               8.31
  7.            II. Allegro di molto               2.06
 
Sonata No.56 in D major, Hob. XVI:42
  8.            I. Andante con espressione               8.52
  9.            II. Vivace assai     2.40
 
Sonata No.57 in F major, Hob. XVI:47
  10.          I. Moderato           6.56
  11.          II. Larghetto          4.32
  12.          III. Allegro             4.52
 
Sonata No.58 in C major, Hob. XVI:48
  13.          I. Andante con espressione               7.22
  14.          II. Rondo. Presto  3.30
 
CD 11:
Sonata No.59 in E flat major, Hob. XVI:49 (.Genzinger Sonata.)
  1.            I. Allegro               10.34
  2.            II. Adagio e cantabile          8.04
  3.            III. Finale. Tempo di Minuet               3.56
 
Sonata No.60 in C major, Hob. XVI:50
  4.            I. Allegro               11.40
  5.            II. Adagio              5.18
  6.            III. Allegro molto  1.59
 
Sonata No.61 in D major, Hob. XVI:51
  7.            I. Andante             3.52
  8.            II. Finale. Presto   1.33
 
Sonata No.62 in E flat major, Hob. XVI:52
  9.            I. Allegro               8.02
  10.          II. Adagio              6.00
  11.          III. Finale. Presto  4.32
 
CD 12:
  1.            Capriccio „Acht Sauschneider müssen seyn“ in G major, Hob.XVII:1        7.16
  2.            Arietta con 12 variazioni in E flat major, Hob.XVII:3      13.59
  3.            Arietta con 12 variazioni in A major, Hob.XVII:2            9.21
  4.            Fantasia in C major, Hob.XVII:4        5.33
  5.            6 leichte Variationen in C major, Hob.XVII:5   7.38
  6.            Andante con variazioni in F minor, Hob.XVII:6              14.58
  7.            Adagio in F major, Hob.XVII:9          4.14
 
CD 13:
  1.            20 Variationen in G major, Hob.XVII:2              14.50
  2.            Andante con variazioni in D major, Hob.XVII:7              4.11
  3.            Andantino (Allegretto) con variazioni in A major          4.47
  4.            Allegretto in G major, Hob.XVII:10   1.47
  5.            Andante con variazioni in B flat major, Hob.XVII:12     5.30
  6.            Aria con variazioni in C major, Hob.XVII:15    5.03
  7.            Adagio in G major, Hob.XV/22II        4.39
  8.            Allegretto con variazioni in A major, Hob.XVII?A3       6.12
  9.            Allegretto in G major, Hob.III:41IV    2.14
  10.          Variationen über die Hymne „Gott erhalte Franz, den Kaiser“ in G major   5.09
  11.          Il Maestro e lo Scolare in F major, Hob.XVIIa/1              8.22
 
CD 14:
  1.            12 Menuette, Hob.IX:11      23.05
  13.          12 Deutsche Tänze, Hob.IX:12          7.37
  25.          12 Menuette, Hob.IX:3        13.40
  37.          12 Menuette, Hob.IX:8        14.55
  49.          2 Märsche (for Sir Henry Harpur), Hob.VIII:1 3.02
  51.          Marsch, Hob.VIII:3/3bis     3.50
  52.          Kontretanz, Hob.XXXI:c:17b             0.33
 
CD 15:
Die Sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze
  1.            IIntrada [L.Introduzione]. Maestoso e Adagio               6.29
  2.            Sonata I. Largo     6.33
  3.            Sonata II. Grave e Cantabile               8.47
  4.            Sonata III. Grave  9.00
  5.            Sonata IV. Largo  8.19
  6.            Sonata V. Adagio 8.23
  7.            Sonata VI. Lento  7.48
  8.            Sonata VII. Largo 7.41
  9.            Il Terremoto. Presto             1.47


 


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