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2009 is the bicentenary of the death of Joseph Haydn, and to commemorate this anniversary Tall Poppies and Geoffrey Lancaster have embarked upon the complete keyboard sonatas. Lancaster has performed the complete sonatas in concert series in Melbourne and Canberra this year, and has been recording the works in Canberra using instruments from the collection of historic keyboard instruments housed in the Canberra School of Music.
If you thought Haydn was a dull and predictable composer, this CD will change your mind most thoroughly. Lancaster plays with amiable virtuosity, embellishing as he goes, and finding all the latent humour and passion in these magnificent sonatas. His performances bring clarity and musical understanding to these works, with the fortepiano responding the gusto to the drama and emotion in the music.
Tall Poppies is proud to announce that the covers for this series will feature paintings by Australia’s great painter, Fred Williams, giving this series a uniquely Australian flavour. The initial CDs have been generously supported by the Friends of the Canberra School of Music.
THIS CD IS ONE OF THE FINAL NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2010 ARIA AWARD
FOR BEST CLASSICAL RECORDING
Volume 2 is now available: TP208
Prelude in G minor
Sonata No. 32 in G minor (Hob. XVI:44) - ca. 1770
Prelude in A-flat major
Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major (Hob. XVI:46) - ca. 1767/68
Prelude in C minor
Sonata No. 33 in C minor (Hob. XVI:20) - 1771/1780
Posted by Fish Fine Music on behalf of Mark Coughlan - The Australian on 16th Mar 2012
Geoffrey Lancaster's long and intimate association with Haydn's keyboard music is evident throughout this impressive new recording; the first disc in a complete cycle of the composer's 52 sonatas. Lancaster has studied these works for years and has performed the complete sonatas in recent concerts, so it's no surprise that his playing is commanding and finely honed. This recording project is a major undertaking, not just for the amount of music involved, but also for the intense concentration of Haydn's musical ideas and the interpretive sophistocation required to bring the msuic to life. Written over a period of more than 40 years at the end of the 18th century, the sonatas are a diverse collection, musically and technically, reflecting Haydn's developing style and the nature of the performers and audiences for whom he was composing. The three sonatas presented here are from the middle of this period, numbers 31, 32 and 33 in the keys of A flat, G minor and C minor respectively. Using a reproduction 18th-century fortepiano, Lancaster brings a creative freshness to this music, playing with considerable freedom and imaginative daring, in a manner that would be inconceivable in a traditional recording on modern grand piano. Lancaster's Haydn is alive with musical intricacies: darting here, lingering there, sparkling and singing in equal measure.
Lancaster is an intelligent and uncompromising interpreter and ideally suited to this repertoire. His extensive and erudite booklet commentary makes fascinating reading. the sound quality is first-rate; warm and resonant but with enough edge to hear the fortepiano's character. This will be a series to collect.