WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 15 in E, Hob XVI:13; Piano Sonata No. 33 in C minor, Hob XVI:20; Piano Sonata No. 36 in C, Hob XVI:21; Piano Sonata No. 50 in D, Hob XVI:37
PERFORMER: Lars Vogt (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 5 55009 2 DDD
Haydn’s piano sonatas seem at last to be receiving the attention they deserve; this selection, played on a modern piano, is the third release that I’ve reviewed in six months. Vogt won second prize in the 1990 Leeds International Piano Competition, and since then has carved out an impressive career for himself. His choice of sonatas for this disc is both imaginative and varied. The rarely heard Sonata in C, No. 36, is an enchanting foil for the other better-known works, and Vogt is generous with repeats, including the second halves of several movements.
It’s possible to take issue with some of Vogt’s tempi – an uncomfortably fast finale to No. 15 and perhaps an over-leisurely first movement to the stormy C minor Sonata, No. 33. The opening Allegro of the familiar No. 50 in D may also be on the nippy side for some. Vogt indulges from time to time in the short, pecked staccatos which some present-day pianists imagine to be good Haydn style, but the only serious reservation I have concerns the Adagio of No. 36 in C, where the exaggerated gaps and hesitations between phrases deprive the music of any meaningful flow. However, if this is the selection of sonatas you want, you are unlikely to be disappointed. Wadham Sutton