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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: 11 minutes 51 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 A major, Hob XVI:26
1773; published as part of a set of six dedicated to Prince Nicolaus Esterházy in 1774

Allegro moderato  [8'24]
Finale: Presto  [0'45]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The A major Sonata No 26 was composed in 1773 (a fragment of the autograph survives) and published in a set of six sonatas the following year—the first official publication of any of Haydn’s works—with a judicious dedication to his employer Prince Nicolaus Esterházy. The expansive first movement offsets its mock-military opening theme (horns are evoked at the outset) with rhapsodic excursions into the minor key. In the development Haydn makes something romantically expressive out of an extended chain of Baroque-style sequences. The second movement recycles, a tone higher, the charming palindromic Menuet al rovescio from Symphony No 47 of 1772. In both the minuet and the trio the music is played twice forwards, then twice backwards (for the player’s convenience the reversal is written out in the printed score). The finale is a disconcertingly brief (26-bar!) frolic, sounding like a rondo theme lopped off from the main body of the movement.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

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