Thursday, 12 May 2016

Haydn - 11 Piano Sonatas - Brendel

Rating: 5/5

A welcome reissue of a superlative recording

What a fantastic reissue this is! I have owned and loved the originals for many years, they are a real treasure of my collection and I am delighted to see them available at budget price.

Haydn's Piano Sonatas are very fine works - full of his characteristic invention, melody and sheer craftsmanship and in my view are at least the equal of Mozart's Piano Sonatas. Haydn's wit and twinkle are all well in evidence, there's real drama in places and also limpid beauty - the free-standing Adagio in F which closes Disc 2 is simply exquisite, for example. It's wonderful music which I return to again and again

Alfred Brendel, of course, plays it magnificently. It is almost redundant nowadays to praise his playing because it has been so reliably excellent for well over half a century, but it is still worth doing. Technical perfection allows Brendel really to allow the music's quality to shine out in all its variety and he captures every bit of it. If there is a flaw or misjudgement anywhere on these discs I've not found it in years of listening.

I simply cannot praise this set highly enough. I genuinely think it stands comparison with Brendel's classic Beethoven and Schubert sonata cycles, and my only complaint is that he only recorded these four discs of Haydn - a Complete Cycle would have been magnificent. It's is a superlative set, now at a real bargain price. If you like Haydn or Mozart, or just want great piano music played to perfection, don't hesitate. Recommended in the warmest possible terms.

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