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8.553824 - HAYDN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-10

Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol

Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 10, Nos. 1-10.

Born in 1732 in the village of Rohrau, near the modem border between Austria and Slovakia, Joseph Haydn was the son of a wheelwright, He had his musical training as a chorister at St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna and thereafter earned a living as best he could from teaching and playing the violin or keyboard. During these earlier years he was able to learn from the old composer Porpora, whose assistant he became. Haydn's first regular employment came in 1759 as Kapellmeister to a Bohenrian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 by appointment as Vice- Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Estethazy, 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, remaining in the same employment, nominally at least, until his death in 1809.


Much of Haydn's service of the Esterhazys was at the new palace of Esterhaza on the Hungarian plains, a complex of buildings ID rival Versailles in magnificence Here he was responsible for the musical establishment and its activities, including regular instrumental concerts and music for the theatre, opera and church. For his patron he provided a variety of chamber music, in particular for the Prince's favourite 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 from the violinist-impresario Salomon to visit London, where he already enjoyed a considerable reputation. He was in London for a second time in 1794 and 1795, after which he returned to duty with the Esterhazy family, now chiefly at the family residence in Eisenstadt, where he had started his career. Much of the year, however, was spent in Vienna, where he passed his final years, dying as the city fell once more into the power of Napoleon's army.


Haydn's keyboard music was at first written for the harpsichord, with later works clearly intended for the pianoforte, as dynamic markings show. His career coincided with changes in the standard keyboard instrument. as the fortepiano and then the pianoforte, with their hammer action and dynamic possibilities gradually replaced the harpsichord and clavichord. At the same time there was a parallel change in instrumental forms, as the structure that has come to be known, among other titles, as sonata-allegro form, developed. Of the 47 keyboard sonatas listed by Georg Feder in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians of 1980, the first thirty were intended for the harpsichord. In addition ID this, fourteen early harpsichord sonatas that have been attributed ID Haydn are listed. Nine of the ten sonatas here included belong to this last group. The early twentieth century edition of the sonatas by Karl pasler includes 52 surviving sonatas, in addition to this there remain eight sonatas apparently lost. Of these Christa Landon, in her Wiener Urtext edition on which numbering the present series of recordings is based, discounts three.


In the absence of autograph copies of Haydn's early sonatas, authenticity may sometimes be a matter of speculation, while stylistic dating is difficult without sure criteria from compositions certainly written before 1766, the terminus post quem taken in the Wiener Urtext edition. Of the present sonatas the doubtful Sonata No.8 was advertised by Breitkopf in 1763, Sonatas Nos. l, 2, 3 and 7 in the Breitkopf catalogue of 1766 and Sonatas Nos. 5 and 6, among others, in the catalogue for 1767. Christa Landon forbears ID speculate on exact dating apart fioorn suggesting a date before 1766 for all the sonatas here included, taking as a standard example of a maturer style Sonata No.29 in E flat major, Hob.xvr45, for which the date of 1766 is known. These early sonatas generally bear the title Partita or Divertimento.


The authenticity of Sonata No.1 in G major, Hob.XVI:8, is supported by the listing of his works approved by Haydn and made between 1799 and 1803, a catalogue that must have tested his memory. The first movement is in a very abbreviated classical sonata form, following the pattern of modulation from tonic to dominant in the first section, with a ten bar central section before the recapitulation of the original material in G major. The second movement is a Menuet, without a trio, followed by a short Andante in which both halves are repeated, a procedure followed in the brisk final Allegro.


There is similar simplicity of structure in the short first movement of the Sonata in C major, Hob.XVI:7, found under the titles Partita, Parthia and Divertimento. The Menuet here has a C minor Trio and the last movement has more elements of relative drawing-room display.


Sonata No.3 in F major, Hob.XVI:9, has the pallen1 of the first movement of Sonata No.1, following this with a Menuet that frames a B flat major Trio. The title Scherzo is used to describe the lively last movement.


There seems no reason to doubt the authenticity of Sonata No.4 in G major, Hob.XVI: GI, described as a Divertimento in a surviving source but with a slightly more elaborate first movement followed by a Menuetto and C major Trio. The last movement however, appears again to open the following sonata.


Sonata No.5 in G major, Hob.XVl: G1, partly in view of the recurrence of the last movement of the sonata that here precedes it has been thought a composite work, with three diverse movements taken from elsewhere. The second movement is a melancholy G minor Andante and the G major Menuet is repeated to frame an E minor Trio.


A Moderato movement opens Sonata No.6 in C major, Hob.XVI: 10, with a more extended central development of the material presented in the first section. There is some asymmetry of rhythm in the Menuet with its contrasting C minor Trio and a chance for some technical display in the final Presto.


Sonata No.7 in D major. Hob.XVII/DI, starts with a theme and three variations, but is included as a sonata in view of its pattern of movements, a Menuet, without a trio, and a bright Finale.


Considerable doubt has been cast on the authenticity of Sonata No.8 in A major, HobXVI:5, which appeared in London in 1790 with an additional violin part and an attribution to Pleyel, whose name was of topical interest there. It appeared in the Breitkopf catalogue of 1767 and was accepted as his by Haydn in 1803, at a time when he described himself as old and weak. Christa Landon expresses objections to what she describes as 'unrelated phrases' and 'puerile modulations'. There is a possibly authentic Menuet with an A minor Trio, followed by a final Presto that includes a variety of keys in its episodes.

Sonata No.9 in D major, Hob.XVI:4 seems to approach Haydn's maturer style, with its more extended first movement development. This is followed by a Menuet and Trio, both in D major.


In Sonata No.10 in C major, Hob.XVI:l, much is made of the opening figure in the central development, which merges imperceptibly into a recapitulation. The second movement is a gentle Adagio, with triplet metre melody, simply accompanied. The sonata ends with a Menuet and a C minor Trio.


Keith Anderson


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