Haydn: Haydn and the Art of Variation

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LABELS: Metronome
WORKS: Haydn and the Art of Variation: Sonata in C, Hob.XVI/48; Sonata in G, Hob.XVI/40; Sonata in D, Hob.XVI/19; Sonata in D, Hob.XVI/42; Andante & Variations in F minor, Hob.XVII/6
PERFORMER: Carole Cerasi (fortepiano, clavichord)


 Born in Sweden of Sephardi/Turkish descent, but trained and based in London, Carole Cerasi has recorded a well-received succession of period keyboard discs for Metronome.

Here she investigates Haydn’s intricate and wide-ranging art of variation by bringing together four of the sonatas containing variation movements with the much-recorded Variations in F minor.

Her readings cover a full gamut of expression from the poised to the brilliant, making much of the colour contrasts offered by her main instrument, a fine-toned c1795 Schantz fortepiano owned by the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath. 

Stylistically her added decorations are always well considered, even if she occasionally over-inflects scales and figures that could be allowed to run more freely. And, like all too many other players, she is unable to resist over-milking the pathos of the tragic coda to the F minor Variations.


But the best playing here stands comparison with recent Haydn fortepiano releases by Ronald Brautigam and Gary Cooper. For the early Sonata No. 19, she uses a copy of a c1771 clavichord, the necessarily close recording of which picks up a bit of action noise and buzz on the bass notes, but enhances the sense of intimacy. Bayan Northcott