WORKS: Auenbrugger Sonatas, Hob. XVI: 35, 36, 37, 38, 39
PERFORMER: Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-992
The six Auenbrugger sonatas (dedicated to the wealthy and talented sisters Katharina and Marianna Auenbrugger) were issued in 1780 by the Viennese publishing house Artaria. The set contains some of Haydn’s best known keyboard works, and the five sonatas on this disc make a delightful starting point for Ronald Brautigam’s complete survey of the composer’s keyboard music.
Aided by a fine instrument, Brautigam displays an innate feel for the poetry and joie de vivre of the music. The opening of the D major sonata zips along with an infectious spring in its step, whilst the Adagio of the E flat major sonata, a movement which can sound awkward, matches intensity with beauty. From time to time the performances can go off the boil with Brautigam occasionally underplaying the capricious side of Haydn’s character. This is due in part to the acoustic, with some shorter silences falling victim to the otherwise acutely judged balance between clarity and resonance. It will be easier to assess the seriousness of such caveats when Brautigam reaches the dustier corners of this repertoire. In the meantime, his combination of zest and nobility in the G major sonata indicate the potential riches in future releases. Christopher Dingle