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Haydn - Piano Sonatas

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (16 Nov. 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B00000JLLE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,051 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sonata No.32 In G Minor, Hob. XVI:44: Moderato
  2. Sonata No.32 In G Minor, Hob. XVI:44: Allegretto
  3. Sonata no.54 In G Major, Hob.XVI:40: Allegretto innocente
  4. Sonata no.54 In G Major, Hob.XVI:40: Presto
  5. Sonata No. 53 In E Minor, Hob. XVI:34: Presto
  6. Sonata No. 53 In E Minor, Hob. XVI:34: Adagio
  7. Sonata No. 53 In E Minor, Hob. XVI:34: Vivace molto innocentemente
  8. Sonata No. 58 In C Major, Hob. XVI:48: Andante con espressione
  9. Sonata No. 58 In C Major, Hob. XVI:48: Rondo
  10. Sonata No.33 In C Minor, Hob.XVI: 20: Moderato
  11. Sonata No.33 In C Minor, Hob.XVI: 20: Andante con moto
  12. Sonata No.33 In C Minor, Hob.XVI: 20: Finale: Allegro

Disc: 2

  1. Fantasia In C Major, Hob. XVII:4: Presto
  2. Sontata No. 59 In E Flat Major, Hob. XVI:49: Allegro
  3. Sontata No. 59 In E Flat Major, Hob. XVI:49: Adagio e cantibile
  4. Sontata No. 59 In E Flat Major, Hob. XVI:49: Finale: Tempo di Minuet
  5. Sontata No. 60 In C Major, Hob. XVI:50: Allegro
  6. Sontata No. 60 In C Major, Hob. XVI:50: Adagio
  7. Sontata No. 60 In C Major, Hob. XVI:50: Allegro molto
  8. Sontata No. 61 In D Major, Hob. XVI:51: Andante
  9. Sontata No. 61 In D Major, Hob. XVI:51: Finale: Presto
  10. Sontata No. 62 In E Flat Major, Hob. XVI:52: Allegro
  11. Sontata No. 62 In E Flat Major, Hob. XVI:52: Adagio
  12. Sontata No. 62 In E Flat Major, Hob. XVI:52: Finale: Presto

Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on 9 Aug. 2001
As well as being a splendid Bach player, Schiff is also one of the premier interpreters of the classical repertoire. In these Haydn sonatas, recorded for Teldec, Schiff offers one of the most revealing and searching recordings of these undervalued works since the Brendel recordings for Phillips. Schiff's great strength is a real grasp of and feeling for the classical style: seldom does one hear the architecture, the balance and the unfolding drama of these works brought out with such a mixture of intelligence and verve. Schiff's peerless grasp of these works puts him on a par with Brendel - even if he does not always capture Haydn's sense of humour as well.
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Andras Schiff has an enviable reputation as a pianist within the Baroque and Classical periods. These sonatas fall squarely within the Classical period and therefore, not surprisingly, fit Schiff's talents and sensibilities perfectly.

The two discs are well filled, both running for about 74 minutes. The recorded sound suits Schiff's undemonstrative but cleanly articulated style exactly. The piano, a notoriously difficult instrument to record accurately, is very well balanced, at a reasonable apparent distance so that it sounds comfortable to the listener and has no sign of the bass being 'heavy' or tendency to 'boom' or be lacking in clarity fro example. One could imagine that the recorded sound would meet with Haydn's approval. It certainly unobtrusively allows the listener to fully enjoy the music as performed.

As mentioned above this pair of discs plays very much to Schiff's strengths and the 9 sonatas and one Fantasia included here are all performed without exaggeration but with clarity and rhythmic tautness and with some sense of humour when appropriate.

There is a particularly thoughtful and detailed booklet provided which runs to some 19 pages of small type. it consists of two major articles. The first is written by Schiff in which he gives his views on the performance of Haydn's sonatas both historically and currently. This includes some pretty sharp observations about some performing practices. The second article by Misha Donat is a detailed analysis of every single item recorded on the two discs. This is an excellent coverage and both are well worth reading and, in the case of the analysis, re-reading.

I would therefore suggest that this collection should e considered seriously by any purchaser interested in adding these Sonatas to their collection. It would be hard to imagine a more aesthetically satisfying set.
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Entirely satisfied with this boxed set and good value.
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A consummate performance of pieces new to me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8fbb9b88) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fbd7378) out of 5 stars Fine performances AND not overly boomy. 23 April 2007
By Doug - Haydn Fan - Published on Amazon.com
These are highly desirable performances of the tremendous and still little known Haydn piano sonatas. Schiff is a master pianist who thinks about what his playing will sound like when transferred to digital format: the result is a huge plus for the consumer. Most available recorded performanceas of the sonatas are good, some very fine. My problem with many of these recordings, such as on Naxos or Decca, is that Haydn's musical make-up was rather boisterous, and as recordings of the sonatas reveal, this plays the devil with the inner voices of his keyboard works. Boomy congested sound makes for a pointless and very frustrating exercise. If you can handle it the Naxos recordings are very reasonably priced, as are the better recorded Decca with McCabe. But those large pianos present a myriad of sound issues. In this case Schiff is generally able to keep his sound balances from turning tubby, and the music and the listener benefits dramatically.
Another cleaner version of the sonatas - Leif Ove Andsnes. A performance very Scandanvian if you wish in its clarity, elegance and purity. Haydn's gusto and rude humor are transformed into a very Beethoven like power, all done in an ultra moderne approach. A must hear and also the readings are extremely pleasurable; especially so after the somewhat congested music-making/recordings often encountered in these piano sonatas.
Again - this just suggests Haydn has far more range than most give him credit for. The music itself? Wonderful!
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90679690) out of 5 stars Essential Haydn 10 Aug. 2000
By DR ROBERT JAMES BERRY - Published on Amazon.com
Andras Schiff is a performer I have long admired, and this disc doesn't disapppoint. Whereas other pianists like Alfred Brendel may take a more dramatic approach to Haydn's wonderful piano sonatas, I feel Schiff's delicacy and spirituality (especially in the slow movements) reaches more deeply into this composer's music. These are generously filled discs and I do hope that Schiff and Teldec will consider embarking on a complete cycle of Haydn's sonatas.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9035f564) out of 5 stars An Exceptional Haydn Piano Recording 1 May 2006
By Donald Carlson - Published on Amazon.com
Thanks to three prior reviews here, I decided to purchase this CD set. I have listened to many different recorded interpretations of these late Haydn piano sonatas over several decades; this set by Andras Schiff is the most rewarding in my listening experiece. His performance exemplifies the qualities of clarity and balance so central to the classical period. At the same time his sense of Haydn's wit, humour and invention is pure refreshment.

Andras Schiff is quoted as saying, "Silence is the beginning and end of all music...".

The way his musical notes sometimes appear out of dead silence is like the purest light appearing out of the darkest void. A kind of revelation!

Haydn's beautiful and sophisticated composition, Shiff's inspired enunciation, and Teldec's quality recording are in perfect concert here.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90c9e7d4) out of 5 stars The First-Rate Champion of Haydn's Piano Sonatas 6 Aug. 2007
By Dexter Tay - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Andras Schiff is one of the most venerated classical pianists living today that has contributed benchmark interpretations of Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Schubert.

Schiff retains a special admiration and love for Haydn, as the album notes and his more recent DVD recording of live performances reveal; he appreciates the true genius of Haydn which modern listeners very often neglect - his witty humour and his simplicity of elegance.

During my earlier days of forays into the classical piano lexicon, I've been plagued as well by the ubiquitous yet ill-informed opinion that Mozart was the greater genius of the two. The impression that Mozart had great wit, evident through his correspondences, might have partially been responsible. However, the contrary was the case in his music, notably his piano sonatas vis-a-vis Haydn; Mozart usually favoured cantabile lines to "programmtic wit", while Haydn was adept in bringing wit and surprise elements to the highest order in the Classical Idiom.

It is on this same note that Schiff approaches and appreciates the genius of Haydn. The album provides an exposition by Schiff and scholarly, comprehensive but never-too-dry work-by-work commentaries by Misha Donat. While I have utmost respect for Schiff's Haydn, a view largely attributed to the recent excellent DVD commentary he made on Haydn's sonatas, I could not agree unanimously with all his interpretations of the sonatas found on this album.

My favourite sonata, the charming E flat major, was in my opinion, disappointing, compared to the others found on the album. A case in point would be the tempo for the haunting beauty of the Adagio movement being somewhat way too fast (and tempestuous) in the stirring middle section.

I wasn't quite won over by Schiff's interpretation of the C major sonata, a piece that I play, in the first movement, as I was in the other Haydn works recorded by Schiff.

Schiff held full sway in the Fantasia in C major, a work which is probably his favourite and which he fought to champion, playing with such erudition and surprise (as in the DVD) that is peerless.

Haydn's crowning achievement in his piano sonata in E flat Major found a well-deserving accolade with Schiff, an interpretation that perhaps set universal standards for this great work that ranks side by side with Brendel's.

Another disappointment was that the compilation did not include the great f minor variations, which could be found in the DVD recording, where Schiff played with the almost utmost perfection.

Overall, I would say this is quite an indispensable recording of Haydn's greatest works, though I would think not as indispensable as say, Brautigam's definitive recording of the last Haydn sonatas on the period fortepiano.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fbd7564) out of 5 stars Beethoven is not a problem! 5 Dec. 2008
By John Gray Hunter Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
These are great! Wonderful music. I take exception to T. Boylan's 3 star review that damns this recording with faint praise. He says: "They (Haydn piano sonatas) are simple music really designed for students and relaxing music." I don't think that applies to works like the C minor sonata Hob.XVI: 20 or the one in E flat Hob XVI: 49. These are obviously concert pieces, not taffelmusik. Indeed, Haydn is amazingly succinct while running thru all sorts of musical and harmonic gymnastics. And he's always experimenting. He may not be as spontaneous as Mozart or full of pathos like Beethoven, but he is witty in the extreme....a difficult notion to achieve in music.

And speaking of Beethoven, Boylan also states: "When interpreted with a "Beethoven-like" quality they really can be destroyed." Of course Haydn is writing sonatas at the same time Beethoven is. He was a teacher of Beethoven. And "Beethoven-like" passages can even be found in Mozart (try the Fantasy in C minor, K475). Beethoven (nor Haydn nor Mozart) do not exist in a vacuum.

These concerns are simply not worth bothering with. Schiff's interps are justified and delightful. They hold up to Brendel's (but the price of those! Yikes!) and are interesting to compare. Schiff is more playful but never inappropriate. Well worth having!
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