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Marc-André Hamelin breathes life into these three Haydn piano concertos. Album of the Week, 8 April 2013.
Haydn isn't exactly famous for his piano music. The composer fell foul of a few unfortunate circumstances, causing his works for piano to be uncharacteristically neglected. Aside from the fact that publishers took advantage of his popularity, using his name to boost sales of sub-standard music and diluting Haydn's legitimate works with offerings from unknown composers, Mozart and Beethoven's arguably more exciting piano music soon took centre stage as Haydn's tunes were pushed to the sidelines.
These concertos, however, show off the best of Haydn's piano writing. The tunes are spirited and lively; the playing is energetic and cheery. Haydn's piano music itself might be slightly less exciting than his classical contemporaries' attempts in the genre, but Hamelin's characterful playing brings the music firmly up to date.
From the tranquil Adagio in Concerto No. 4 to the tripping Presto in Concerto No. 3, the album is bursting at the seams with a range of great music, proving once and for all that with the right pianist, Haydn's piano music is varied and enjoyable - brought to life with a sense of humour and personality.