A Fresh Approach To Haydn

Precise, sure-fingered yet beautifully delicate, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet warms the heart with his humour and gentle passion

Composer: Haydn
Repertoire: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 3: Sonatas Nos 16, 29, 33 and 42
Artists: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (pf)
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Instrumental
Label: Chandos CHAN10689

The Music: With the exception of the
 G major Sonata (No.42), the works on this disc don’t fit the light, amateur- friendly mould that the majority of Haydn’s piano sonatas adhere to. In fact, Hungarian musicologist Laszlo Somfai described the C minor (No.33) as ‘the most monumental keyboard work between the death of 
JS Bach and the Viennese maturity of Mozart’.

The Performance: Bavouzet employs the full range of
available ornamentation in his mission to present the 
clearest, richest musical argument possible. Repeats are enlivened with everything from trills and mordants through
to micro-cadenzas. Similarly, codas are restricted to second repeats, including the decision to axe the first appearance
of the C minor finale’s extended ending. Instead, he creates maximum climactic effect by saving it just for the repeat.

The Verdict: A recording worth rushing to the shops for. Bavouzet plays these inventive masterpieces with real love.

Why You’ll Love This

•    Programming Excellence

The sobriety, length and breadth of Sonata No.33 in C minor is framed by happier works which, either in their own fleeting sombre interludes or their comparable sense of musical ambition, act as highly complementary and informative bookends.

•    Razer-Sharp Articulation
Bavouzet’s attack is a lovely combination of gentleness and razer-sharp articulation, whether in fast passage work such as the virtuoso finale of Sonata No.29 or the intricate ornamentation of No.33’s finale.

•    Plenty Of Sunshine

Bavouzet  captures every ounce of expression in the darker movements but perhaps some of the best moments are to be found away from the clouds. His reading of no.16’s uplifting final Allegro is both joyful and sincere.