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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Portrait of Joseph Haydn engraved by F A Andorff by Carl Jäger
The Cobbe Collection Trust, UK / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67710
Recording details: August 2008
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: August 2009
Total duration: 12 minutes 20 seconds

'One of the outstanding releases of the Haydn celebratory year' (International Record Review)

'A marvellously polished collection of performances … he is a model of correctness, with enough wit, exuberance and the most exquisite lightness of touches to keep the music buoyant' (The Guardian)

'Hamelin is most associated with virtuoso fireworks for piano, but he can also miniaturise himself exquisitely to suit Haydn's wit and elegance … the spring in his fingers is delightful' (The Times)

'As always, Haydn's originality astonishes and delights in his piano music as much as in his symphonies and string quartets. Hamelin revels in the tongue-in-cheek high jinks of the finale to the E minor sonata (No 34) … and is especially compelling in the great C major (No 48) … works that rank with the finest creations of the Viennese Classical period. An unmissable bargain at two-discs-for-the-price of one' (The Sunday Times)

'The continuous outpouring of beautiful tone; it's mesmerizing … these performances are beyond criticism' (Fanfare, USA)

'They sound absolutely superb, in the right hands, on the modern grand piano. And Marc-André Hamelin has the right hands, as his first two-disc set showed … playing of crisp clarity and deep feeling, superbly recorded' (Dominion Post, New Zealand)

'This Hyperion double set contains some of the finest performances of Haydn sonatas I have heard. Hamelin's playing overflows with ardent lyricism and I especially enjoyed his naturalness of rubato. The close sound quality from the Henry Wood Hall is impressive and the booklet essay by Richard Wigmore is helpful too' (MusicWeb International)

Piano Sonata in E major, Hob XVI:31
c1773/4; issued as part of a set of six in 1776

Moderato  [6'54]
Allegretto  [3'10]
Finale: Presto  [2'16]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
No 31 in E major is one of a heterogeneous bunch of six sonatas (Nos 27–32) issued privately in manuscript copies in 1776, though it probably dates from two or three years earlier. The first movement contrasts a lyrical theme in three-part counterpoint, expressively varied in the course of the movement, with cascading sextuplets that generate a powerful climax in the central development. The most striking part of the sonata is the second movement, a neo-Baroque E minor Allegretto that suggests both a chorale prelude and a three-part invention. As in No 33, the finale—a dashing theme and variations with a contrasting E minor episode—follows without a break. Haydn was to remember the strangely haunting Allegretto two decades later in the middle movement of the great E major Piano Trio, No 28.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

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