HAYDN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 59-62 (Ibolya Toth/ Jeno Jando) (Naxos: 8.550657)
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Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Piano Sonatas Vol. 1
Sonata No.59 in E Flat Major, Hob. XVI: 49
Sonata No.60 in C Major, Hob. XVI: 50
Sonata No.61 in D Major, Hob. XVI: 51
Sonata No.62 in E Flat Major, Hob. XVI: 52
Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau in 1732, the sonof a wheelwright. Trained at the choir-school of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, hespent some years earning a living as best he could from teaching and playing the violin orkeyboard, and was able to learn from the old musician Porpora, whose assist an the became.
Haydn's first appointment was in 1759 as Kapellmeister to a Bohemian nobleman, Count vonMorzin. This was followed in 1761 by employment as Vice-Kapellmeister to one of therichest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy, succeeded on his death in 1762 byhis brother Prince Nikolaus. On the death in 1766 of the elderly and somewhat obstructiveKapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to his position, to remain in the sameemployment, nominally at least, for the rest of his life.
On the completion of the magnificent palace at Esterhaza, inthe Hungarian plains under the new Prince, Haydn assumed command of an increased musicalestablishment. Here he had responsibility for the musical activities of the palace, whichincluded the provision and direction of instrumental music, opera and theatre music, andmusic 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 stringinstrument with sympathetic strings that could also be plucked.
On the death of Prince Nikolaus in 1790, Haydn was able toaccept an invitation to visit London, where he provided music for the concert seasonorganized by the violinist-impresario Salomon. A second successful visit to London in 1794and 1795 was followed by a return to duty with the Esterhazy family, the new head ofwhich had settled principally at the family property in Eisenstadt, where Haydn hadstarted his career. Much of the year, however, was to be spent in Vienna, where Haydnpassed his final years, dying in 1809, as the French armies of Napoleon approached thecity yet again.
The classical keyboard sonata developed during the eighteenthcentury, the changes in its form and content taking place during Haydn's life-time. Thisformal development took place during a period when keyboard instruments themselves werechanging, with the harpsichord and clavichord gradually replaced by the new hammer-actionfortepiano. There are some fourteen early harpsichord sonatas attributed to Haydn. Of his47 1ater keyboard sonatas, dating from about 1765, the first thirty were designed forharpsichord and the next nine for harpsichord or piano. The remaining eight sonatasinclude seven specifically intended for piano and one for piano or harpsichord. Theprincipal musical difference between music for harpsichord and that for the piano lies inthe possibilities for gradual dynamic change, indications of which appear in Haydn's latersonatas.
The Sonata in E flat major,XVI:49 in the Hoboken listing of Haydn's works, was dedicated to Anna vonGerlischek, a housekeeper in the service of the Esterhazys, who later married theEsterhaza violinist Johann Tost, a man whose later business dealings with Haydn haveraised various questions. The sonata was in fact intended for Maria Anna von Genzinger,wife of the ennobled physician to Prince Nikolaus and a gifted player, with whom Haydncarried on a playfully teasing correspondence. In a letter dated 20th June 1790he tells her he has sent her his brand new E flat Sonata, although it is not entirely new;in fact only the Adagio is new, and he expresses a wish to play the sonata to her himself,something that would make his absence from Vienna more tolerable. Mademoiselle Nanette,Anna von Gerlischek, is not to know that the work she has commissioned for Frau vonGenzinger was already half completed. In a letter written a week later Haydn tells Frauvon Genzinger that he has played the sonata at Mademoiselle Nanette's in the presence ofthe Prince and was rewarded by her giving him the present of a gold tobacco-box. Laterproblems arose over a pirated edition of the sonata, attributed by Haydn to the activitiesof an unscrupulous copyist. The opening figure of the first movement assumes importance asthe work progresses, with a four note figure near the end of the exposition leading, inthe central development section, to a brief cadenza before the final recapitulation. The Bflat Adagio is a movement of particular beauty. The final Tempodi Minuet includes aversionof the principal theme in the key of E flat minor, before the re-establishment of theoriginal key brings the sonata to an end.
The three sonatas listed as HobokenXVI: 50-52 were written in 1794 or 1795 for Therese Jansen, a pupil ofClementi, who enjoyed particular success in London as a teacher and performer. In 1795 shemarried the London art-dealer Gaetano Bartolozzi and later moved with him to Vienna andthen to Venice, before returning to London in 1800, after losses incurred in theNapoleonic Wars. Problems arose over the publication of these last of Haydn's pianosonatas, the rights to which, the property of Therese Jansen, seem to have been partlyinfringed by the composer.
The first of the Jansensonatas, the Sonata in C major, known sometimes as the English Sonata, waswritten in part with the possibilities of the instrument available to Therese Jansen inLondon in mind, including a passage in the first movement marked sopra una corda, on onestring, impossible on the pianos then available in Vienna. The extended first movementcontains a wide range of dynamic effects, even in the statement of the first subject,while the last movement uses an upper range of the keyboard not then found on continentalinstruments. The F major Adagio, apparently written earlier in Vienna, before Haydn'ssecond journey to England, allows lyrical embellishment of the melody. It is followed by afinal rondo that has its surprises, as the principal theme is momentarily interrupted, arecurrent feature.
The two-movement Sonata in Dmajor, Hob. XVI: 51, is firmly based on its opening theme, which appears at thestart of each of the three sections of the movement, the second containing a passage inthe key of D minor. The second movement, marked Presto, is marked by off-beat dynamicaccents and carries many of the features of a scherzo, its opening figure later recalledby Beethoven. The sonata leads to the last of Haydn's compositions in this form, the Sonata in E flat major, Hob. XVI: 52. The firstmovement of this sonata opens impressively with arpeggiated chords, introducing a movementthat makes demands on a performer in the elaboration of its central development sectionand the brilliance of its conclusion. The Adagio shifts to the unexpected key of E major,again exploiting the dynamic and timbre possibilities of the available English piano. Theoriginal key is restored in the last movement, which makes its own not unconsiderabledemands on a performer. This final sonata was not published in London until 1799, when itappeared with its dedication to Therese Jansen. In December 1798 Artaria had published thesonata in Vienna with a dedication to Madeleine von Kurzbock, also a pupil of Clementiand of Haydn himself. The work received wide acclaim, to become not only the summary ofHaydn's own achievement in the keyboard sonata, but to exercise very considerableinfluence on later composers.
The Hungarian pianist Jenoe Jando has won a num