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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67882
Recording details: August 2011
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: June 2012
Total duration: 16 minutes 35 seconds

'The playing is outstanding for its crystalline tone, springy rhythms, lively tempos and integral handling of ornamentation. Hyperion's recording of the modern Steinway is cleanly focused … Hamelin is often at his most brilliant where Haydn is at his most eccentric … a sparkling collection' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The most immediately striking feature of the set is the unfailingly superb, crystalline clarity of Hamelin's sound … the performances are next to flawless' (International Record Review)

Piano Sonata in E major, Hob XVI:22
composer
published in Vienna by Kurzböck in 1774; dedicated to Prince Nicolaus Esterházy

Allegro moderato  [6'48]
Andante  [6'18]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In 1774 the Viennese firm of Kurzböck issued a set of six sonatas, Nos 21–26. Carrying a diplomatic dedication to Haydn’s employer Prince Nicolaus Esterházy, this was the first authorized publication of any of his works. Haydn composed these sonatas—for harpsichord rather than fortepiano—with one eye on the amateur market, and perhaps also in deference to the taste and keyboard technique of the prince. Yet polished galanterie by no means precludes Haydnesque inventiveness, not least in the E major Sonata, No 22. Its first movement has something of Emanuel Bach’s ornamental, improvisatory manner, with abrupt contrasts of texture and tempo, the soulful E minor Andante is a wordless aria, and the minuet finale, like that in No 44, varies two themes in turn, one in the major, one in the minor. The European Magazine, and London Review of October 1784 found the first movement (and indeed the whole of Sonata No 23 in F major) ‘expressly composed in order to ridicule Bach of Hamburgh’, a judgement that would surely have astonished Haydn: ‘… the stile of Bach is closely copied, without the passages being stolen, in which his capricious manner, odd breaks, whimsical modulations, and very often childish manner, mixed with an affectation of profound science, are finely hit off and burlesqued.’

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2012

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