Haydn's three keyboard sonatas dedicated to Therese Jansen Bartolozzi are held to be his best in the genre. It is assumed that Jansen was a better pianist than Haydn himself, and that he wrote these sonatas to suit her talents more than his own or that of less skillful amateurs. It is known that the sonatas were written to suit the latest in English keyboard technology at the time, using a larger range than his earlier sonatas and with pedal markings. As a result, these sonatas have a sound that is more recognizably Haydn, more like his string quartets and symphonies, especially in the way he uses thematic material. Thomas Leander very ably recognizes those distinguishing aspects of these sonatas. He plays a modern piano, using only enough pedal to smooth phrases and add a little bit of brightness to the music. The recording already picks up a fair bit of the piano's resonance, so any more pedal used in these works would be unbearably excessive. He recognizes the straightforward Classical structure, while making it come alive with wonderful contrasts of dynamics, almost like Beethoven. The fast movements are lively and at times playful, while the slow movements are richly phrased, serious, but not too much so. Leander has a great sympathy for these sonatas. He finds a wealth of expression and dimension in the three sonatas that is more than most of Haydn's keyboard music.
AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita
|Keyboard Sonata in C major, H. 16/50|
|Keyboard Sonata in D major, H. 16/51|
|Keyboard Sonata in E flat major, H. 16/52|