About this Recording
8.553825 - HAYDN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 11-16 and 18
English 

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)

Piano Sonatas Vol. 8

Sonata No.11 in B flat major, Hob.XVI:2

Sonata No.12 in A major, Hob.XVI:12

Sonata No.13 in G major, Hob.XVI:6

Sonata No.14 in C major, Hob.XVI:3

Sonata No.15 in E major, Hob.XVI:13

Sonata No.16 in D major, Hob.XVI:14

Sonata No.18 in E flat major, Hob.XVI deest

 

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 assistant he 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 Esterhazy, 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 Esterhaza, 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 Esterhazy 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 later 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 sonatas included in the present volume have all been dated to a period before 1766 The order in which they are played follows that of the Wiener Urtext Edition of Christa Landon but does not necessarily correspond to the order of composition, which must remain conjectural, in the general absence of autograph copies or external evidence. The Sonata No.11 in B flat major, Hob.XVI:2, in the thematic material of its first movement and its presentation has much in common with the keyboard style of Haydn's contemporaries. The central development starts with the first subject in the key of F major, with much use of sequence in what follows, before the return of the original key and material in recapitulation. It is tempting to imagine the G minor Largo as written for the instrument much favoured by Carl Philipp Emanuel Each, the clavichord, with its possibilities for gently sustained melody and characteristic use of series of syncopations. The sonata is completed by a Menuet with a B flat minor Trio at its heart.

 

The Sonata No.12 in A major, Hob.XVI:12, starts with a gently lilting triplet theme, moving almost imperceptibly into the dominant key for the secondary material, before the central development that continues the largely two-voice texture, as does the final recapitulation. The second movement, a Menuet, again finds a place for triplet rhythms and at its centre is an A minor Trio, a rhythmic contrast in its syncopations. The sonata ends with a movement in abridged sonata-allegro form, with the briefest of passages, a mere seven bars, representing the central development of the form and providing a necessary link to the recapitulation, together with which it is repeated.

 

Haydn's G major Sonata No.13, Hob.XVI:6, exceptionally survives partially in an autograph copy of part of the work, which some have chosen to place as early as 1755 or at least before 1760. It is described on the first page as Partita per il Clavicembalo Solo, with Haydn's name, Giuseppe Haydn and his customary dedicatory In Nomine Domini. The earlier sonatas bore the title Partita or Divertimento, with the first use of the word Sonata for Haydn's works of this kind occurring in 1773. The sonata follows the now established pattern in its opening Allegro, with all its thematic rhythmic variety, The development includes something of the rhetoric of C.P.E.Bach and contains the necessary reference to the first subject, duly omitted in the recapitulation. The Minuet, then so spelled, a reason for the earlier dating, makes use of ascending bass octaves and frames a G minor Trio. It is the latter key that is used for the slow movement, with its favoured triplet rhythms and place for a brief final cadenza. The final Allegro molto allows for a measure of technical virtuosity.

 

The material of the Sonata No.14 in C major, Hob.XV1:3, is also used in one of the many trios that Haydn wrote for the baryton. Much use is here made of broken triads in accompaniment of the simple melodic material, with its repeated exposition and central exploration of the minor possibilities of the principal theme. The Andante is in G major and uses a fuller tripartite form, with a varied version of the principal theme returning in recapitulation The sonata ends with a C major Menuet and C minor Trio.

 

The Sonata No.15 in E major, Hob.XV1:13, is placed by the Haydn scholar Robbins Landon to the composer's period at Eisenstadt, in perhaps 1763. The sonata suggests Haydn's more personal style of keyboard-writing, familiar from later sonatas. The second movement is a Menuet in the same key, framing a contrasted E minor Trio. The rapid Finale is again in the three sections of sonata-allegro form, providing additional variety in the use of the minor key in a transitional variant of the principal theme, in a movement that has something of the ebullience of an operatic final ensemble.

 

Opening with an Allegro moderato, the Sonata No.16 in D major, Hob.XV1:14, may sound more familiar, with its central exploration of darker keys, following the poignant clarity of what has gone before. The Menuet, related in thematic material, frames a D minor Trio and is followed by a final Allegro of characteristic figuration in its thematic ingredients and textures.

 

Problems of authenticity have arisen over Sonata No.18 in E flat major, a relatively recent discovery that is not included in the Hoboken catalogue of Haydn’s work. The sonata is one of a pair found by Georg Feder at Raigern Abbey. The other of which is included in the Wiener Urtext as No.17. This has been attributed to an imitator of Haydn, while No.18 has been identified as the work of the Bavarian monastic composer Isfrid Kayser. Both these sonatas, however, survive, whatever their authorship, in a manuscript copy of sonatas by Haydn. The present sonata is in only two movements and provides modest technical challenge to a performer in its figuration in its first movement, followed by a Menuetto and a contrasted E flat minor Trio, with its due element of syncopation.

 

 


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