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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: 15 minutes 58 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 G major, Hob XVI:39
published in 1780 as part of a set of six dedicated to Franziska and Maria Katherina von Auenbrugger; 'Per il Clavicembalo, o Forte Piano'

Allegro con brio  [4'11]
Adagio  [7'17]
Prestissimo  [4'30]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
For the opening Allegro con brio of sonata No 39 in G major, Haydn resorted to a spot of self-borrowing, recycling the perky tune of the Scherzando second movement of sonata No 36 from the same, ‘Auenbrugger’ set. To deflect ‘the criticism of various half-wits’ (even as late as 1780 he could be surprisingly touchy and defensive), Haydn got Artaria to add an explanatory note on the reverse of the title page: ‘Among these six sonatas are two movements that use the same idea for the first few bars … the composer wishes it to be known that he has done this on purpose to demonstrate different methods of treatment.’ This is one of Haydn’s favourite rondo-variations designs, with embellished reprises of the theme interleaved with two episodes, one in G minor (in effect a free variation of the theme), the other, in E minor, taking the dotted rhythm in bar two of the theme as a cue for a swaggering Hungarian-style march. The C major Adagio, typically of Haydn’s sonata slow movements, lives more from florid, ruminative figuration than from cantabile melody, à la Mozart, while the finale is a playful, featherweight 6/8 Prestissimo with a delightful whiff of Scarlatti.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

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