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Haydn: Piano Sonatas, Volume II

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Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0602
Release Date: 08/30/2019
Number of Discs: 1
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Liner Notes
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SOMM Recordings is pleased to announce Leon McCawley’s Second Volume of Piano Sonatas by Franz Joseph Haydn.

McCawley’s admired first volume, pairing Haydn’s Sonatas and Variations (SOMMCD 0162), received a coveted Diapason d’Or for playing of “great intelligibility and sensitivity”. Sonata No.60 from Volume I has been selected by Diapason to appear on its next CD, Les indispensables de Diapason, featuring six Haydn sonatas played on different keyboards.

In his authoritative booklet notes, Bryce Morrison makes a persuasive argument for the Piano Sonatas in “celebrating Haydn’s endless innovation, richness and variety and, most importantly, his humanity”. Those qualities are brilliantly realised by McCawley in six sonatas spanning 25 years.

Caught on the cusp of youth and maturity, Sonata No.19 is a work of lyrical and dramatic contrasts with a unique structure and surprising innovation. At odds with the inherited image of Haydn as a prankster, Sonata No.47 inhabits a dark, even menacing world that concludes in abrupt savagery. The Bach-accented Sonata No.50 is a work characterised by scintillating writing, Sonata No.54, in Morrison’s memorable phrase, “falls like balm on the ear”.

Ushering in new approaches and radical thinking, two late Sonatas – Nos. 58 and 59 – show Haydn anticipating Beethoven with prescient command of tone and combustible technique.

Leon McCawley’s previous recordings for SOMM have received wide critical praise. Gramophone hailed his complete Rachmaninov Preludes (SOMMCD 0143) as “a distinguished issue”, and the “superb collection” of Samuel Barber’s piano music (SOMMCD 0108) was an Editor’s Choice.

Fanfare described his playing of Brahms (SOMMCD 0116) as “music-making of a very high order” with International Record Review adding: “When all is said and done, it is difficult to know whether McCawley’s refined piano playing, his natural yet cultivated musicality or his boundless imagination warrants the greater praise. You must hear the recording”.

On This Recording

    Sonata No.50 in D major, Hob. XVI:37 [10:28]

  1. I Allegro con brio
  2. II Largo e sostenuto
  3. III Finale: Presto ma non troppo
  4. Sonata No.54 in G major, Hob. XVI:40 [11:49]

  5. I Allegretto innocente
  6. II Presto
  7. Sonata No.19 in E minor, Hob. XVI:47 [12:51]

  8. I Adagio
  9. II Allegro
  10. III Finale: Tempo di Menuet
  11. Sonata No.47 in B minor, Hob. XVI:32 [11:00]

  12. I Allegro moderato
  13. II Menuet
  14. III Finale: Presto
  15. Sonata No.58 in C major, Hob. XVI:48 [11:19]

  16. I Andante con espressione
  17. II Rondo: Presto
  18. Sonata No.59 in E flat major, Hob. XVI:49 [19:35]

  19. I Allegro
  20. II Adagio e cantabile
  21. III Finale: Tempo di Minuet