One might suspect a five-disc collection of Haydn's complete miscellaneous keyboard works would wear out its welcome fairly quickly, but in these performances by Dutch fortepianist Bart van Oort, every single work is thoughtful, insightful, and energetic. Beyond an agile technique and flexible tone, van Oort brings enthusiasm and sympathy to Haydn's music. His Fantasy in C major, Hob XVII/4, is wildly imaginative. His Largo arranged from the String Quartet in G minor, Op. 74/3 is ineffably tender. His Variations (Fantasy) in F minor, Hob XVII/6, is controlled but passionate. His Twelve German Dances, Hob IX/12, are funny but danceable. And his Seven Last Words is unbelievably concentrated.
Better yet, van Oort programs each disc to achieve both unity and diversity. Putting all the variations on one disc, all the arrangements from other works on another disc, and most but not all of the dances on a third disc, were good ideas. Placing the variations so they form a cogent group and interlarding the dance disc with marches were great ideas. The listener can thus play any given disc straight through and hear a coherent and convincing recital, no mean feat in Haydn's complete miscellaneous keyboard works.
Brilliant's digital sound is clear and close and Sylvia Berry's program notes are well-written and informative. One would be wrong.