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on 26 January 2010
This set of 10 CDs is amazing coup for both Naxos and customers alike!

The pianism offered here commands almost every positive adjective imaginable, but primarily INTELLIGENT, SENSITIVE, BEAUTIFUL, SPONTANEOUS. Jeno Jando has made many CDs for Naxos but these are the finest, as far as I am concerned. I find it slightly sad that he is not one of those front line pianists we see in the concert halls and recital rooms of the world, for that is where he deserves to be.

I had a number of Haydn sonatas on other discs before buying this set, including some by pianists who are virtually 'household names,' but I have discarded all of them in favour of these performances. Frankly, if you have these readings, you need nothing more. Indeed, this would make a hearty recommendation even if it cost far more!

If I were to single-out one sonata as an example, it would have to be no.19 in E minor, Hob.XVI:47. The opening Adagio has all the mystery and yearning one could wish for, at a REAL Adagio tempo. Playing it as though the pianist feels Haydn meant 'Andante' kills this movement, and one witnesses this homicide all too often in live and recorded performances! Not here though, and this heart-searching movement is followed by an Allegro that canters a little like a rustic dance, in perfect contrast to the opening movement. The finale is marked, 'tempo di menuet' and again, this is exactly what Jando gives us; neither too slow so that it loses momentum, nor too fast so that dancers could not dance to it, but precisely what Haydn stipulated.

How I wish every performer paid as much attention to composers' markings as Jando! Some of these works were published without dynamics because Haydn wrote them for harpsichord where dynamic variation is not possible. In such cases, Jando's intelligence and good musical judgment comes to the rescue, ensuring that the listener never feels the want of variety.

This sort of perfection is not isolated, but permeates throughout the entire canon of finely crafted works. My only regret is that I only began exploring the Jando readings in 2010 when some of them have been around for 17 years, and I have bought other CDs of these pieces in that time!

As for recording quality, the ambience is stunningly 'life-like' with the quality microphones neither too far nor too near, producing a sense of Jando in your living room, except that the listener has the optimum, premium seat in the recital room for these renderings.

In case all this is insufficient reason to buy this set, a number of Haydn's smaller piano works are included. The gem on the crown for many (myself included) will be the Arietta con 12 varizioni in A major, Hob.XVII:2. The CDs are well filled too; just over sixty minutes is the shortest with most running longer. When you think it cannot get any better than this, you will notice the superb packaging; a sturdy box with a lid that slides gracefully over the base like a hand in a glove. Then there are no generic, flimsy paper sleeves inside to hold the CDs, but card sleeves dedicated to the CD to which it relates, giving full track listings and timings.

These delightful readings are performed on a modern piano and will please any-and-everybody, with the possible exception, ONLY of those requiring period instruments. Considering Haydn's long life, a number of different instruments would be needed to reflect the advances in keyboard instruments made during his lifetime, if any degree of authenticity were to be achieved. Even so, I would wager that anyone who becomes familiar with this set will want it on their shelves, no matter what else they may have, or desire, besides!
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on 11 July 2011
Having previously owned and become familiar with the McCabe set of Haydn Sonatas which, sadly along with many other CDs, I had to leave overseas when returning to the UK several years ago, I recently bought the cheap box of the complete Naxos set played by Jeno Jando. Potential purchasers should be aware that price is the only thing cheap about this set. Jando is fully at ease with Haydn's style and in particular the earlier sonatas, which were in fact originally written for harpsichord, sound completely idiomatic- far more so than I remember from McCabe.

So, a wonderful set, superbly performed and excellently recorded at a ridiculously modest price - what more do you want?
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on 25 April 2009
These are charming works, effervescent and bright, and Naxos's house painist, Jeno Jando, delivers suitably sprightly playing, making this box set a very appealing bargain. The recorded sound is sharply focused and clear, with the piano caught expertly by Naxos's engineers. In some of the sonatas we have an extra contribution from Jando: an audible humming along to the music, particularly so in the lovely E flat major, no. 29. However, it does not disturb the experience at all for me, rather adding to the overall sense of relish and spontaneity.

There is not a lot of variety, perhaps, in terms of mood and idiom, but what you get here are all the sonatas, extremely well presented and documented, with a 300 page booklet covering the sonatas, symphonies, concertos and string quartets - itself an amazingly informative and well researched fund of information on this most delightful of composers. All in all, well worth the modest price. Beethoven was just around the corner, but it's clear where he started - with Papa Haydn.
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HALL OF FAMEon 3 December 2008
Unquestionably this box set of ten CDs is not for everyone. Most people who are familiar with any of Haydn's sonatas know only some of the later ones; he wrote sixty-two, after all. And the earliest ones -- the first thirty, more or less -- were written for harpsichord, or for either harpsichord or fortepiano. This means that they were published without dynamic markings, since variation in loudness is not possible on the harpsichord. As well, they tend to have some baroque trappings albeit coupled with classical harmonies. I found it instructive to listen to the earlier sonatas but often found myself thinking that once or twice would be enough. Others, I hasten to add, find much to enjoy here. And there certainly are marvelous moments in this early batch. For instance, the slow movement of Sonata No. 5 (Hob.XVI:11) is a pensive and lovely lament. (And interestingly enough, the first movement of that sonata is the same as the finale of the 4th sonata.) The first movement of Sonata No. 12 (Hob.XVI:12) is a gentle andante with lilting triplets and sounds, with its compound meter, like it comes from much later in Haydn's career. Clearly, as the early date of this sonata has been authenticated, Haydn 'had it' from early on, but he had to find his way to his final unerring brilliance. Sonata No. 15 (Hob.XVI:13) has a finale that sounds for all the world like an operatic finale. One almost hears ghostly voices singing 'Corriam tutti!'. The two-movement Sonata No. 20 (Hob.XVI:18), although written for harpsichord, has implied dynamic contrasts heard only when played on the piano, as here. Unexpectedly, both movements are in sonata allegro form.

But it is when we get to the later sonatas that we hear the Papa Haydn we all know and love. And what a feast there is for lovers of Haydn's mature style. There are a few sonatas that are familiar to most music-lovers,e.g., No. 50 (Hob.XVI:37) or No. 59 (Hob.XVI:49), but all of these late ones are worth investigating. No two are remotely like any of the others; no cookie-cutter here. My own weakness in Haydn, aside from his use of unexpected humor, is in his slow movements. I recall in my youth as a piano student I was irritated by both the complexity and the s l o w n e s s of some of these movements. Now, in the fullness of years, I have come to love some of these movements immoderately. For instance, there is the Adagio of the just-mentioned No. 59. Its serenity is heart-balm.

What of the performances here? Well, Jenö Jandó is one of the Naxos label's dogsbody pianists and some might assume he is simply a talented hack. But that is simply not the case. He is a thoughtful and thoroughly musical player. I've never heard anything of his that was less than good. Here the playing is graceful, clear, unfussy yet expressive. He may not have the pizzazz that Marc-André Hamelin had in his recent two-CD set of Haydn sonatas -- and there were those who didn't like it, although I thought it was superb -- but Jandó makes a convincing case for all of the sonatas and I can certainly recommend the set, particularly at budget price, roughly half-price compared to the single CDs in the series that are still available. For lagniappe included in the set are a number of single movements by Haydn, including the magnificent 1799 F Minor Variations (Hob.XVII:6).

Scott Morrison
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on 27 January 2014
I felt guilty spending £40 on this set of Haydn Piano sonatas but my advice is beg,borrow, steal or go hungry but if you love piano music of the early Viennese Classical Style buy this set.The recording quality is superb,and Jandos' playing is without equal.. I am bowled over by the quality of this Haydn series and consider it £40 well spent
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 April 2016
This set of Haydn's piano sonatas will stand comparison with any. The playing by Jeno Jando is sympathetic, and very much in the service of the music. Recording quality is excellent.

The works are arranged in composition order, so it's possible to hear the developing maturity of the composer from the earlier light and sunny sonatas to the more serious (but still unfailingly inventive and life-affirming) later ones that definitely stand comparison with those of Mozart and Beethoven. Do listen to Haydn for who he is himself, though, and you'll enjoy these wonderful works all the more.
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on 1 February 2016
Usually not given to making reviews, except when the cd is very very good. It is one of those cases. I can say that the Naxos recording is excellent, and the performance of Jando magnificent. I always have doubts about complete editions. It's not the case. This to me is final and is of the few to date that makes me give this a 5 star rating.
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