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ClassicsOnline Home » HAYDN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-10
Franz Josef Haydn
(1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 10, Nos. 1-10.
Born in 1732 in the village of Rohrau, near the modem
border between Austria and Slovakia, Joseph Haydn was the son of a wheelwright, He had his musical
training as a chorister at St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna and thereafter earned a living
as best he could from teaching and playing the violin or keyboard. During these
earlier years he was able to learn from the old composer Porpora, whose
assistant he became. Haydn's first regular employment came in 1759 as Kapellmeister
to a Bohenrian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 by
appointment as Vice- Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the
Empire, Prince Paul Anton Estethazy, 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, remaining in the same employment, nominally at least, until his death
Much of Haydn's
service of the Esterhazys was at the new palace of Esterhaza on the Hungarian
plains, a complex of buildings ID rival Versailles in magnificence Here he was
responsible for the musical establishment and its activities, including regular
instrumental concerts and music for the theatre, opera and church. For his
patron he provided a variety of chamber music, in particular for the Prince's
favourite 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 from the
violinist-impresario Salomon to visit London, where he already enjoyed a considerable
reputation. He was in London for a second time in 1794 and 1795, after which he
returned to duty with the Esterhazy family, now chiefly at the family residence
in Eisenstadt, where he had started his career. Much of the year, however, was
spent in Vienna, where he passed his
final years, dying as the city fell once more into the power of Napoleon's
music was at first written for the harpsichord, with later works clearly
intended for the pianoforte, as dynamic markings show. His career coincided
with changes in the standard keyboard instrument. as the fortepiano and then
the pianoforte, with their hammer action and dynamic possibilities gradually
replaced the harpsichord and clavichord. At the same time there was a parallel
change in instrumental forms, as the structure that has come to be known, among
other titles, as sonata-allegro form, developed. Of the 47 keyboard sonatas
listed by Georg Feder in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and
Musicians of 1980, the first thirty were intended for the harpsichord. In
addition ID this, fourteen early harpsichord sonatas that have been attributed
ID Haydn are listed. Nine of the ten sonatas here included belong to this last
group. The early twentieth century edition of the sonatas by Karl pasler
includes 52 surviving sonatas, in addition to this there remain eight sonatas
apparently lost. Of these Christa Landon, in her Wiener Urtext edition on which
numbering the present series of recordings is based, discounts three.
In the absence of
autograph copies of Haydn's early sonatas, authenticity may sometimes be a
matter of speculation, while stylistic dating is difficult without sure criteria
from compositions certainly written before 1766, the terminus post quem taken
in the Wiener Urtext edition. Of the present sonatas the doubtful Sonata
No.8 was advertised by Breitkopf in 1763, Sonatas Nos. l, 2, 3 and 7
in the Breitkopf catalogue of 1766 and Sonatas Nos. 5 and 6, among
others, in the catalogue for 1767. Christa Landon forbears ID speculate on
exact dating apart fioorn suggesting a date before 1766 for all the sonatas
here included, taking as a standard example of a maturer style Sonata No.29
in E flat major, Hob.xvr45, for which the date of 1766 is known. These
early sonatas generally bear the title Partita or Divertimento.
The authenticity of Sonata
No.1 in G major, Hob.XVI:8, is supported by the listing of his works
approved by Haydn and made between 1799 and 1803, a catalogue that must have
tested his memory. The first movement is in a very abbreviated classical sonata
form, following the pattern of modulation from tonic to dominant in the first section,
with a ten bar central section before the recapitulation of the original
material in G major. The second movement is a Menuet, without a trio,
followed by a short Andante in which both halves are repeated, a
procedure followed in the brisk final Allegro.
There is similar
simplicity of structure in the short first movement of the Sonata in C major,
Hob.XVI:7, found under the titles Partita, Parthia and Divertimento. The
Menuet here has a C minor Trio and the last movement has more
elements of relative drawing-room display.
Sonata No.3 in F
major, 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. The
title Scherzo is used to describe the lively last movement.
There seems no reason
to doubt the authenticity of Sonata No.4 in G major, Hob.XVI: GI, described
as a Divertimento in a surviving source but with a slightly more
elaborate first movement followed by a Menuetto and C major Trio. The
last 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 that
here precedes it has been thought a composite work, with three diverse
movements taken from elsewhere. The second movement is a melancholy G minor Andante
and the G major Menuet is repeated to frame an E minor Trio.
A Moderato movement
opens Sonata No.6 in C major, Hob.XVI: 10, with a more extended
central development of the material presented in the first section. There is
some asymmetry of rhythm in the Menuet with its contrasting C minor Trio
and a chance for some technical display in the final Presto.
Sonata No.7 in D
major. Hob.XVII/DI, starts with a theme and three variations, but is included
as a sonata in view of its pattern of movements, a Menuet, without a
trio, and a bright Finale.
has been cast on the authenticity of Sonata No.8 in A major, HobXVI:5, which
appeared in London in 1790 with an
additional violin part and an attribution to Pleyel, whose name was of topical
interest there. It appeared in the Breitkopf catalogue of 1767 and was accepted
as 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 'unrelated
phrases' and 'puerile modulations'. There is a possibly authentic Menuet with
an A minor Trio, followed by a final Presto that includes a
variety of keys in its episodes.
Sonata No.9 in D
major, Hob.XVI:4 seems to approach Haydn's maturer style, with its more
extended first movement development. This is followed by a Menuet and Trio,
both in D major.
In Sonata No.10 in
C major, Hob.XVI:l, much is made of the opening figure in the
central development, which merges imperceptibly into a recapitulation. The
second movement is a gentle Adagio, with triplet metre melody, simply
accompanied. The sonata ends with a Menuet and a C minor Trio.
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HAYDN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-10