|About this Recording
8.550657 - HAYDN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 59-62
Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Piano Sonatas Vol. 1
Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau in 1732, the son of a wheelwright. Trained at the choir-school of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, he spent some years earning a living as best he could from teaching and playing the violin or keyboard, and was able to learn from the old musician Porpora, whose assist an the became. Haydn's first appointment was in 1759 as Kapellmeister to a Bohemian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 by employment as Vice-Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Esterházy, succeeded on his death in 1762 by his brother Prince Nikolaus. On the death in 1766 of the elderly and somewhat obstructive Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to his position, to remain in the same employment, nominally at least, for the rest of his life.
On the completion of the magnificent palace at Esterháza, in the Hungarian plains under the new Prince, Haydn assumed command of an increased musical establishment. Here he had responsibility for the musical activities of the palace, which included the provision and direction of instrumental music, opera and theatre music, and music for the church. For his patron he provided a quantity of chamber music of all kinds, particularly for the Prince's own peculiar instrument, the baryton, a bowed string instrument with sympathetic strings that could also be plucked.
On the death of Prince Nikolaus in 1790, Haydn was able to accept an invitation to visit London, where he provided music for the concert season organized by the violinist-impresario Salomon. A second successful visit to London in 1794 and 1795 was followed by a return to duty with the Esterházy family, the new head of which had settled principally at the family property in Eisenstadt, where Haydn had started his career. Much of the year, however, was to be spent in Vienna, where Haydn passed his final years, dying in 1809, as the French armies of Napoleon approached the city yet again.
The classical keyboard sonata developed during the eighteenth century, the changes in its form and content taking place during Haydn's life-time. This formal development took place during a period when keyboard instruments themselves were changing, with the harpsichord and clavichord gradually replaced by the new hammer-action fortepiano. There are some fourteen early harpsichord sonatas attributed to Haydn. Of his 47 1ater keyboard sonatas, dating from about 1765, the first thirty were designed for harpsichord and the next nine for harpsichord or piano. The remaining eight sonatas include seven specifically intended for piano and one for piano or harpsichord. The principal musical difference between music for harpsichord and that for the piano lies in the possibilities for gradual dynamic change, indications of which appear in Haydn's later sonatas.
The Sonata in E flat major, XVI:49 in the Hoboken listing of Haydn's works, was dedicated to Anna von Gerlischek, a housekeeper in the service of the Esterházys, who later married the Esterháza violinist Johann Tost, a man whose later business dealings with Haydn have raised various questions. The sonata was in fact intended for Maria Anna von Genzinger, wife of the ennobled physician to Prince Nikolaus and a gifted player, with whom Haydn carried on a playfully teasing correspondence. In a letter dated 20th June 1790 he tells her he has sent her his brand new E flat Sonata, although it is not entirely new; in fact only the Adagio is new, and he expresses a wish to play the sonata to her himself, something that would make his absence from Vienna more tolerable. Mademoiselle Nanette, Anna von Gerlischek, is not to know that the work she has commissioned for Frau von Genzinger was already half completed. In a letter written a week later Haydn tells Frau von Genzinger that he has played the sonata at Mademoiselle Nanette's in the presence of the Prince and was rewarded by her giving him the present of a gold tobacco-box. Later problems arose over a pirated edition of the sonata, attributed by Haydn to the activities of an unscrupulous copyist. The opening figure of the first movement assumes importance as the work progresses, with a four note figure near the end of the exposition leading, in the central development section, to a brief cadenza before the final recapitulation. The B flat Adagio is a movement of particular beauty. The final Tempodi Minuet includes aversion of the principal theme in the key of E flat minor, before the re-establishment of the original key brings the sonata to an end.
The three sonatas listed as Hoboken XVI: 50-52 were written in 1794 or 1795 for Therese Jansen, a pupil of Clementi, who enjoyed particular success in London as a teacher and performer. In 1795 she married the London art-dealer Gaetano Bartolozzi and later moved with him to Vienna and then to Venice, before returning to London in 1800, after losses incurred in the Napoleonic Wars. Problems arose over the publication of these last of Haydn's piano sonatas, the rights to which, the property of Therese Jansen, seem to have been partly infringed by the composer.
The first of the Jansen sonatas, the Sonata in C major, known sometimes as the English Sonata, was written in part with the possibilities of the instrument available to Therese Jansen in London in mind, including a passage in the first movement marked sopra una corda, on one string, impossible on the pianos then available in Vienna. The extended first movement contains a wide range of dynamic effects, even in the statement of the first subject, while the last movement uses an upper range of the keyboard not then found on continental instruments. The F major Adagio, apparently written earlier in Vienna, before Haydn's second journey to England, allows lyrical embellishment of the melody. It is followed by a final rondo that has its surprises, as the principal theme is momentarily interrupted, a recurrent feature.
The two-movement Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI: 51, is firmly based on its opening theme, which appears at the start of each of the three sections of the movement, the second containing a passage in the key of D minor. The second movement, marked Presto, is marked by off-beat dynamic accents and carries many of the features of a scherzo, its opening figure later recalled by Beethoven. The sonata leads to the last of Haydn's compositions in this form, the Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI: 52. The first movement of this sonata opens impressively with arpeggiated chords, introducing a movement that makes demands on a performer in the elaboration of its central development section and the brilliance of its conclusion. The Adagio shifts to the unexpected key of E major, again exploiting the dynamic and timbre possibilities of the available English piano. The original key is restored in the last movement, which makes its own not unconsiderable demands on a performer. This final sonata was not published in London until 1799, when it appeared with its dedication to Therese Jansen. In December 1798 Artaria had published the sonata in Vienna with a dedication to Madeleine von Kurzböck, also a pupil of Clementi and of Haydn himself. The work received wide acclaim, to become not only the summary of Haydn's own achievement in the keyboard sonata, but to exercise very considerable influence on later composers.
Close the window