Haydn: Piano Sonata in A, Hob. XVI:26; ‘Piano Sonata in F, Hob. XVI:29; ‘Piano Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI:34; ‘Piano Sonata in G, Hob. XVI:40; ‘Piano Sonata in E flat, Hob. XVI:52

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Haydn
LABELS: Solo
WORKS: Piano Sonata in A, Hob. XVI:26; ‘Piano Sonata in F, Hob. XVI:29; ‘Piano Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI:34; ‘Piano Sonata in G, Hob. XVI:40; ‘Piano Sonata in E flat, Hob. XVI:52
PERFORMER: Mark Schwartzentruber (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SLR4
Mark Schwartzentruber has already won plaudits for, among other things, discs of Beethoven and Scarlatti sonatas. And this new Haydn recital confirms him as a discerning, unaffected Classical player. In their extensive Haydn surveys Alfred Brendel (Philips) and András Schiff (Teldec) bring more orchestral colour to the first movement of the great E flat Sonata (Hob. XVI:52), and a more fanciful, improvisatory spirit to the Adagio. Schwartzentruber is a shade more contained than either. But with his finely drawn cantabile line, subtly varied tone of voice, and glistening, even passagework (always strongly directed, never mechanical), he leaves you in no doubt of the Sonata’s grandeur, reach and virtuoso brilliance. Elsewhere Schwartzentruber nicely catches the pastoral innocence of the G major Sonata’s opening (Brendel, slower and more artfully inflected, is rather too knowing for my taste), and relishes the bizarre incongruities and dislocations of the F major work. In the opening Presto of the E minor he is lighter and fleeter than either Schiff or, especially the more symphonically weighty Brendel, though his is an equally valid view of this tense, mercurial piece. I liked, too, Schwartzentruber’s unhurried lyricism in the first movement of the A major (where the more assertive Leif Ove Andsnes – EMI – plays up the march background) and his swift, pungently accented ‘menuet al roverso’, filched from Symphony No. 47. One minor cavil is that Schwartzentruber is consistently reluctant to add embellishments on repeats and at pauses – Schiff and, in the A major, Andsnes are specially witty and inventive here. But while I would still plump for Brendel or Schiff in the late E flat, Schwartzentruber’s vital, lyrical performances, beautifully recorded, can be recommended to anyone who fancies this particular selection of sonatas. Richard Wigmore

Advertisement