Franz Josef Haydn(1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 10, Nos. 1-10.
Born in 1732 in the village of Rohrau, near the modemborder between Austria and Slovakia, Joseph Haydn was the son of a wheelwright, He had his musicaltraining as a chorister at St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna and thereafter earned a livingas best he could from teaching and playing the violin or keyboard. During theseearlier years he was able to learn from the old composer Porpora, whoseassistant he became. Haydn's first regular employment came in 1759 as Kapellmeisterto a Bohenrian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 byappointment as Vice- Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in theEmpire, Prince Paul Anton Estethazy, succeeded on his death in 1762 by hisbrother Prince Nikolaus. On the death in 1766 of the elderly and somewhatobstructive Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to hisposition, remaining in the same employment, nominally at least, until his deathin 1809.
Much of Haydn'sservice of the Esterhazys was at the new palace of Esterhaza on the Hungarianplains, a complex of buildings ID rival Versailles in magnificence Here he wasresponsible for the musical establishment and its activities, including regularinstrumental concerts and music for the theatre, opera and church. For hispatron he provided a variety of chamber music, in particular for the Prince'sfavourite instrument, the baryton, a bowed string instrument with sympatheticstrings that could also be plucked.
On the death ofPrince Nikolaus in 1790 Haydn was able to accept an invitation from theviolinist-impresario Salomon to visit London, where he already enjoyed a considerablereputation. He was in London for a second time in 1794 and 1795, after which hereturned to duty with the Esterhazy family, now chiefly at the family residencein Eisenstadt, where he had started his career. Much of the year, however, wasspent in Vienna, where he passed hisfinal years, dying as the city fell once more into the power of Napoleon'sarmy.
Haydn's keyboardmusic was at first written for the harpsichord, with later works clearlyintended for the pianoforte, as dynamic markings show. His career coincidedwith changes in the standard keyboard instrument. as the fortepiano and thenthe pianoforte, with their hammer action and dynamic possibilities graduallyreplaced the harpsichord and clavichord. At the same time there was a parallelchange in instrumental forms, as the structure that has come to be known, amongother titles, as sonata-allegro form, developed. Of the 47 keyboard sonataslisted by Georg Feder in The New Grove Dictionary of Music andMusicians of 1980, the first thirty were intended for the harpsichord. Inaddition ID this, fourteen early harpsichord sonatas that have been attributedID Haydn are listed. Nine of the ten sonatas here included belong to this lastgroup. The early twentieth century edition of the sonatas by Karl paslerincludes 52 surviving sonatas, in addition to this there remain eight sonatasapparently lost. Of these Christa Landon, in her Wiener Urtext edition on whichnumbering the present series of recordings is based, discounts three.
In the absence ofautograph copies of Haydn's early sonatas, authenticity may sometimes be amatter of speculation, while stylistic dating is difficult without sure criteriafrom compositions certainly written before 1766, the terminus post quem takenin the Wiener Urtext edition. Of the present sonatas the doubtful SonataNo.8 was advertised by Breitkopf in 1763, Sonatas Nos. l, 2, 3 and 7in the Breitkopf catalogue of 1766 and Sonatas Nos. 5 and 6, amongothers, in the catalogue for 1767. Christa Landon forbears ID speculate onexact dating apart fioorn suggesting a date before 1766 for all the sonatashere included, taking as a standard example of a maturer style Sonata No.29in E flat major, Hob.xvr45, for which the date of 1766 is known. Theseearly sonatas generally bear the title Partita or Divertimento.
The authenticity of SonataNo.1 in G major, Hob.XVI:8, is supported by the listing of his worksapproved by Haydn and made between 1799 and 1803, a catalogue that must havetested his memory. The first movement is in a very abbreviated classical sonataform, following the pattern of modulation from tonic to dominant in the first section,with a ten bar central section before the recapitulation of the originalmaterial in G major. The second movement is a Menuet, without a trio,followed by a short Andante in which both halves are repeated, aprocedure followed in the brisk final Allegro.
There is similarsimplicity of structure in the short first movement of the Sonata in C major,Hob.XVI:7, found under the titles Partita, Parthia and Divertimento. TheMenuet here has a C minor Trio and the last movement has moreelements of relative drawing-room display.
Sonata No.3 in Fmajor, Hob.XVI:9, has the pallen1 of the first movement of Sonata No.1,following this with a Menuet that frames a B flat major Trio. Thetitle Scherzo is used to describe the lively last movement.
There seems no reasonto doubt the authenticity of Sonata No.4 in G major, Hob.XVI: GI, describedas a Divertimento in a surviving source but with a slightly moreelaborate first movement followed by a Menuetto and C major Trio. Thelast movement however, appears again to open the following sonata.
Sonata No.5 in G major, Hob.XVl: G1,partly in view of the recurrence of the last movement of the sonata thathere precedes it has been thought a composite work, with three diversemovements taken from elsewhere. The second movement is a melancholy G minor Andanteand the G major Menuet is repeated to frame an E minor Trio.
A Moderato movementopens Sonata No.6 in C major, Hob.XVI: 10, with a more extendedcentral development of the material presented in the first section. There issome asymmetry of rhythm in the Menuet with its contrasting C minor Trioand a chance for some technical display in the final Presto.
Sonata No.7 in Dmajor. Hob.XVII/DI, starts with a theme and three variations, but is includedas a sonata in view of its pattern of movements, a Menuet, without atrio, and a bright Finale.
Considerable doubthas been cast on the authenticity of Sonata No.8 in A major, HobXVI:5, whichappeared in London in 1790 with anadditional violin part and an attribution to Pleyel, whose name was of topicalinterest there. It appeared in the Breitkopf catalogue of 1767 and was acceptedas his by Haydn in 1803, at a time when he described himself as old and weak.
Christa Landon expresses objections to what she describes as 'unrelatedphrases' and 'puerile modulations'. There is a possibly authentic Menuet withan A minor Trio, followed by