HAYDN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 42-47 (Ibolya Toth/ Jeno Jando) (Naxos: 8.550844)
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Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Piano Sonatas Vol. 2
Sonata No.42 in G Major, Hob. XVI: 27
Sonata No.43 in E Flat Major, Hob. XVI: 28
Sonata No.44 in F Major, Hob. XVI: 29
Sonata No.45 in A Major, Hob. XVI: 30
Sonata No.46 in E Major, Hob. XVI: 31
Sonata No.47 in B Minor, Hob. XVI: 32
Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau in 1732, the son of a wheelwright. Trained at the choir-school of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, he spent some years earning a living as best he could from teaching and playing the violin or keyboard, and was able to learn from the old musician Porpora, whose assistant he became. Haydn's first appointment was in 1759 as Kapellmeister to a Bohemian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 by employment as Vice-Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Esterházy, succeeded on his death in 1762 by his brother Prince Nikolaus. On the death in 1766 of the elderly and somewhat obstructive Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to his position, to remain in the same employment, nominally at least, for the rest of his life.
On the completion under the new Prince of the magnificent palace at Esterháza, built on the site of a former hunting-lodge set on the Hungarian plains, Haydn assumed command of an increased musical establishment. Here he had responsibility for the musical activities of the palace, which included the provision and direction of instrumental music, opera and theatre music, and music for the church. For his patron he provided a quantity of chamber music of all kinds, particularly for the Prince's own peculiar instrument, the baryton, a bowed string instrument with sympathetic strings that could also be plucked.
On the death of Prince Nikolaus in 1790, Haydn was able to accept an invitation to visit London, where he provided music for the concert season organized by the violinist-impresario Salomon. A second successful visit to London in 1794 and 1795 was followed by a return to duty with the Esterházy family, the new head of which had settled principally at the family property in Eisenstadt, where Haydn had started his career. Much of the year, however, was to be spent in Vienna, where Haydn passed his final years, dying in 1809, as the French armies of Napoleon approached the city yet again.
The classical keyboard sonata developed during the eighteenth century, the changes in its form and content taking place during Haydn's life-time. This formal development took place during a period when keyboard instruments themselves were changing, with the harpsichord and clavichord gradually replaced by the new hammer-action fortepiano. There are some fourteen early harpsichord sonatas attributed to Haydn. Of his 471ater keyboard sonatas, dating from about 1765, the first thirty were designed for harpsichord and the next nine for harpsichord or piano. The remaining eight sonatas include seven specifically intended for piano and one for piano or harpsichord. The principal musical difference between music for harpsichord and that for the piano lies in the possibilities for gradual dynamic change, indications of which appear in Haydn's later sonatas.
The six sonatas, Hob. XVI: 27- 32, were written between 1774 and 1776 and were later published by Hummel as Haydn's Opus 14. The first of the set, in G major, has a texture of great clarity in its opening Allegro con brio, with a second subject accompanied by an Alberti bass, a feature of the central development. The second movement is a Menuet, with a contrasting G minor Trio. The last movement is dominated by its principal theme, which re-appears in various guises. The Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI: 28, has a first movement marked Allegro moderato, with an element of syncopation in its second subject and a central development with unusual twists of harmony. The second movement Menuet has an E flat minor Trio and it has a Finale that follows something of the pattern of the preceding sonata. The Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI: 29, for which an autograph copy of 1774 is preserved, shows more than ever the influence of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and the rhetorical principles outlined in his Essay on the True Art of Keyboard Playing. There is a second movement Adagio of some elaboration followed by a final Tempo di Menuet, with an F minor episode and varied versions of the main theme, with which the movement starts.
The fourth sonata of the set, Hob. XVI: 30, in A major, has only two movements. The first of these opens with a cheerful Allegro that concludes in a final Adagio, making effective use of the lower extent of the keyboard. The second movement, a Tempodi Menuet, consists of a theme and six variations. The Sonata in E major, Hob. XVI: 31, has a first subject of the intricately varied rhythm of which Haydn had such subtle mastery. The second movement is a translucent Allegretto in E minor, with a final B major that leads directly to the concluding Presto, with its varied treatment of the principal theme and central E minor episode. The last sonata of the set, Hob. XVI: 32, in B minor, has an opening figure of some importance, with a short transition to a second subject. The second movement is a B major Menuet, with a minor Trio, with a final Presto that ends with a brief and partial restatement of its principal theme, now in octaves.
Jeno Jandó was born in Pécs, in south Hungary, in 1952. He started to learn the piano when he was seven and later studied at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music under Katalin Nemes and Pál Kadosa, becoming assistant to the latter on his graduation in 1974. Jandó has won a number of piano competitions in Hungary and abroad, including first prize in the 1973 Hungarian Piano Concours and a first prize in the chamber music category at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 1977. In addition to his many appearances in Hungary, he has played widely abroad in Eastern and Western Europe, in Canada and in Japan. He has recorded all Mozart's piano concertos and sonatas for Naxos. Other recordings for the Naxos label include the concertos of Grieg and Schumann as well as Rachmaninov's Second concerto and Paganini Rhapsody and the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven. His future recordings will include the Dohnányi and Kodály cello and piano sonatas with German cellist Maria Kliegel.