Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

HAYDN: Complete Keyboard Sonatas Volume 2 & 3

Joseph Haydn Prelude in E-flat major Sonata No. 59 in E-flat major Prelude in G major Sonata No. 54 in G major Prelude in B minor Sonata No. 47 in B minor Prelude in E-flat major Sonata No. 40 in E-flat major

Geoffrey Lancaster
(Paul McNulty Stein & Walter fortepianos)

Tall Poppies TP216

Having last month nominated Tom Beghin's ground breaking Virtual Haydn DVD + CDs as our classical piano Recording of the Year (2011), I have received from Australia complementary (I avoid thinking 'rival') volumes 1 & 3 of an ongoing project from Geoffrey Lancaster. (I reviewed Vol 1 briefly in 2010.)

These I found every bit as compelling as Beghin's. There is no "gimmickry" but they are (both) graced with a long, learned essay by Lancaster himself - he quotes Beghin in his bibliography.

The presentation is exemplary and I like the informality of Lancaster's appreciation of his colleagues in the project, notably for the contribution of Belinda Webster, producer at the sessions and our contact down under...

I find Vol 3, with several of my favourite sonatas, compelling to the extent that having intending sampling for review purposes, I played them all straight through, feeling that they represented how I had aimed to play them on my Schiedmayer upright (more suitable than a Steinway) in my piano playing days. (I cannot go along with Lancaster's conceding that Haydn can never become a "wholly popular composer like Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin or Tchaikowsky"; see my many writings on Haydn intégrales in Musical Pointers).

The essence of Lancaster's approach is dealt with in his cogent section on Declamatory Performance vs. the 'Straight, Mainstream, Industrial, Modernist' Style, in which he also deals with ornamentation and improvised "preluding", which was expected in Haydn's time. The 'S, M, I, M' style is exemplified, I guess, by John McCabe's pioneering first complete recording of the sonatas on modern piano, which I had enjoyed in its time.

I look forward to the completion of Geoffrey Lancaster's series, hopefully as a boxed set in due course.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Piano Sonatas: No. 16 in D, Hob. XVI/14; No. 30 in D, Hob. XVI/19; No. 38 in F, Hob. XVI/23; No. 53 in e, Hob. XVI/34. Preludes: in D (2); in F, in e • Geoffrey Lancaster (fp) •
TALL POPPIES 208 (66:22)

Vol 2 received; all the above comments apply equally.

"performances as capricious, whimsical, and dramatic
as the music demands"
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley