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Haydn, Sonata Hob.XVI/51 in D major

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by alf, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. alf

    alf New Member Piano Society Artist

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    This unassuming 2-movement sonata was composed in 1794-5 but published only ten years later. It's one of my favorite Haydn's piano works but since its very low profile, especially compared to its sisters Nos.50 and 52, I don't marvel at all that nobody has recorded it so far on PS. Despite the small size, there's much to enjoy, particularly the Schubertian moments in the first movement and the country mood of the second, which clearly anticipate Beethoven in some infectious rhythmic features. And all dressed with the so peculiar, tongue-in-cheek, Haydn's humor (just as an example, in the first movement, listen to 0:52 -> 1:00 and then to the same amplified spot at 3:02 -> 3:15).


    Haydn - Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI Nr. 51, I: Andante

    Haydn - Sonata in D major, Hob. XVI Nr. 51, II: Presto
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow - I don't know these pieces, but they sounded really nice. Great job! They're up on the site.
     
  3. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    You introduced a very nice sonata to me, Alfonso! I really enjoyed it. Admitting that I haven't had an opportunity to concentrate myself in Haydn yet, I didn't really like his composition so far. But these pieces are very interesting.
     
  4. alf

    alf New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you both for listening. It's a pity that (in general) Haydn's piano music is so little rated/known.
     
  5. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Alfonso,

    You play this sonata very effectively. I greatly enjoyed hearing it! Thanks so much for sharing it here.

    You raise an interesting point that Haydn's music is so little rated and known. As I think about that, some possible reasons come to mind. When Haydn was young, he first taught himself the harp. Later he learned the violin and harpsichord. But generally in his time he was thought of as a composer, conductor and string player, not a pianist. Yet he obviously took a huge interest in composing his piano sonatas. That brings me to a another thought related to piano pedagogy and repertoire. Here in the U.S. (I cannot speak for elsewhere) piano students learn some Mozart, then two or three Haydn sonatas (or at least movements which is acceptable), and then assume that they have "graduated" to Beethoven. So in retrospect, they consider Haydn to have been simply a less sophisticated forerunner to Beethoven, maybe in the same way that we sometimes consider Carl Maria von Weber to be a less accomplished predecessor to Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Liszt--despite the fact that in his own time, he was considered to be a giant of the world of music. Or another example might be the old practice of having students study Moscheles' etudes before "graduating" to Chopin's etudes, the implication being that Mocheles' etudes were more pedantic or preparatory in nature. We should not forget that it was Haydn who invented sonata form and also tutored both Mozart and Beethoven in composition! :wink: Having said that, I believe that the lasting perception of piano students, unfortunately and for a very long time, has usually been that Haydn was their helpful stepping stone or link to Beethoven--period. It's perception rather than substance, but perception more often than not becomes a person's reality.

    David
     
  6. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Alfonzo

    I couldn't agree more that Haydn's sonatas aren't often played enough, and this two-movement work in particular, compared with the two C Major and E-flat Major works. This little gem is a wonderful example IMO of Haydn's lyricism in particular.

    Wonderful playing too. Though many things I probably would have done differently, particularly with some of the portato touches, which sound just slightly heavy and clipped to me in places, what I like about your playing is that it always has conviction and reflects that you've carefully worked out just what you want to do with the music (e.g., with dynamics and rubato). Your rubati are ideal I think in that they don't distract from the overall tempo or rhythmic design, which is nearly always consistent.

    I think your tempo is really just right in the presto. Most playing of classic-period prestos I find to be much too fast and skittish, and out out of proportion since a classic period presto is often just a matter, as here, of one overall rhythmic beat for measure. Your playing here and passage work is totally clear and with very nice dynamic contrasts (particularly the end with the pianissimos (I like this about the Andante too, wonderful smorzando)

    The only detail I heard that I might make a suggestion for is some of the leaps in the first movement (e.g., when you have to leap up to grab the thirds, though incidentally, nice clarity and evenness between the two parts of the thirds). A little musical hesitation is doubtless permissible, but here it sounds a bit too much as if you are unsure of getting the right notes.

    But that's an inconsequential nitpick really. Great playing.


    Joe
     
  7. alf

    alf New Member Piano Society Artist

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    David and Joe, sorry for the late reply and thank you for your praise.

    Joe, the hesitasion on those leaps is not caution but indeed a musical choice (and I understand not everybody's taste).

    David, concerning Beethoven and Haydn I've recently discovered this awesome BBC movie about the famous rehearsal(s) of the Eroica Symphony:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCVrOwBit2s
    It's historically inaccurate (the hilarious Ries' accident after the horn 'false' entry is correct though!), but very effective.
     

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