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Hyperion Records

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Photo of Angela Hewitt by James Cheadle.
Track(s) taken from CDA67736
Recording details: March 2009
Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: September 2009
Total duration: 16 minutes 39 seconds

'Hewitt distils the essence of the original instruments without compromsing her out-and-out commitment to the modern keyboard … the large-scale Haydn E flat Sonata is superb, above all the middle movement in an astonishing and other-wordly E major. Hewitt's dynamic range is bold … and the glittering facility of the final Presto is thrilling. Altogether a splendid contribution to these composers' anniversary year' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Everything emerges with an impressive combination of clarity and vitality … the programme is unique to the current catalogue, and Hewitt's favoured Fazioli instrument has been recorded with superb fidelity' (International Record Review)

'What intrigues me most about Angela Hewitt's playing is the tension between the expressive restrictions of her 18th-century repertoire, and the imagination she deploys so fully within its boundaries … she takes pains to make each strand of the music apparent to the listener … technical virtuosity put to the service of Haydn's brilliant wit' (Fanfare, USA)

'Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt, famous for playing Bach, commands the very different, more Italianate style of Handel. The last work on the disc is Haydn's great E flat Sonata and I like Hewitt's way with its Adagio best of all' (Daily Mail)

Andante and variations in F minor 'Sonata, Un piccolo divertimento', Hob XVII:6
composer
1793; Vienna; written for Barbara von Ployer; first published in 1799 with a dedication to Baroness von Braun

Other recordings available for download
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
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Gottlieb Wallisch (piano)
Ignacy Jan Paderewski (piano)
Wanda Landowska (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Haydn composed the Sonata ‘Un piccolo divertimento’ (Variations in F minor), in Vienna in 1793 for the talented pianist Barbara (‘Babette’) von Ployer, for whom Mozart had written the concertos K449 and K453. This profoundly felt music vies with the Andante of the ‘Drumroll’ Symphony as Haydn’s greatest set of alternating minor–major variations. After the stoic melancholy of the F minor opening, with its gently insistent dotted rhythms, the ornate F major theme exudes a kind of whimsical, abstracted playfulness. Haydn originally ended with the second F major variation and a few bars of coda. He subsequently appended a reprise of the F minor theme and a long, disturbingly chromatic coda that draws unsuspected force from the pervasive dotted rhythms before dissolving in a feverish swirl of arpeggios. After a measure of equilibrium is restored, the dotted rhythms toll deep in the bass, like a funeral knell. Haydn was the least confessional of composers. But it is not far-fetched to suggest, as several commentators have done, that the tragic intensity of the coda may have been prompted by the sudden death of Maria Anna von Genzinger, at the age of forty-two, on 26 January 1793.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009


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