Haydn: Keyboard Sonata in G, Hob. XVI:27;Keyboard Sonata in E flat, Hob. XVI:28; Keyboard Sonata in F, Hob. XVI:29; Keyboard Sonata G minor, Hob. XVI:44; Keyboard Sonata in D, Hob. XVI:33

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COMPOSERS: Haydn
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Keyboard Sonata in G, Hob. XVI:27;Keyboard Sonata in E flat, Hob. XVI:28; Keyboard Sonata in F, Hob. XVI:29; Keyboard Sonata G minor, Hob. XVI:44; Keyboard Sonata in D, Hob. XVI:33
PERFORMER: Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1093
This latest instalment in Ronald Brautigam’s Haydn cycle includes the first three from a set of six sonatas completed in 1776, as well as two works that are difficult to date: the wonderfully expressive Sonata in G minor, and the D major, Hob. XVI:33, with its fine slow movement in the minor. What all five sonatas have in common is a finale in a highly personal kind of variation form. In the first two sonatas here, that finale is a dazzling ‘presto’; in the remainder, an elegant – or, in the case of the G minor work, hauntingly melancholy – minuet.

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The warm-toned fortepiano Brautigam uses is a copy of a late 18th-century instrument by Mozart’s favourite maker, Anton Walter. He observes every single repeat, and it is possible to feel that he is too severe in eschewing any ornamentation the second time through. Rather that, though, than the over-fussy embellishments one so often hears. The playing itself captures the music’s spirit admirably, with just the right degree of gravitas in the broad opening movement of the F major Sonata, Hob. XVI:29, and all the virtuosity one could want in the finales of the two preceding works. All in all, a disc to give considerable pleasure. Misha Donat