Haydn: Piano Sonata No. 59; Piano Sonata No. 60; Piano Sonata No. 61; Piano Sonata No. 62; Hob. XVI:49-52

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COMPOSERS: Haydn
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 59; Piano Sonata No. 60; Piano Sonata No. 61; Piano Sonata No. 62; Hob. XVI:49-52
PERFORMER: Jenö Jandó (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.550657 DDD
This is the first volume of Jandó’s projected series of the complete Haydn piano sonatas, scheduled for completion during the next year or so. The sonatas offered here are the final four, and they represent the pinnacle of Haydn’s achievement in the genre. One of them (No. 60 in C) requires a keyboard extending to the top A – a major third higher than was ever available to Mozart. Another (No. 62 in E flat) has the second of its three movements in the neighbouring key of E – an astonishing juxtaposition at the time.

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Jandó uses a modern piano, making full use of its wide dynamic range and potential for tonal variety, and very persuasive he is too, though some may think his jabbed staccatos and explosive sforzandi overdone, and his fast tempi (in, for instance, the finale of the great E flat Sonata) really are Allegro molto ‘stirling mosso’. Still, every note is in place, clear and unsmudged, helped along by Naxos’s crystal sound. The disc is notable for its refined playing and for Jandó’s unfailing sense of the music’s architecture. Wadham Sutton