‘One of the outstanding releases of the Haydn celebratory year’ (International Record Review)
‘A marvellously polished collection of performances … he is a model of correctness, with enough wit, exuberance and the most exquisite lightness of touches to keep the music buoyant’ (The Guardian)
‘Hamelin is most associated with virtuoso fireworks for piano, but he can also miniaturise himself exquisitely to suit Haydn's wit and elegance … the spring in his fingers is delightful’ (The Times)
‘As always, Haydn's originality astonishes and delights in his piano music as much as in his symphonies and string quartets. Hamelin revels in the tongue-in-cheek high jinks of the finale to the E minor sonata (No 34) … and is especially compelling in the great C major (No 48) … works that rank with the finest creations of the Viennese Classical period. An unmissable bargain at two-discs-for-the-price of one’ (The Sunday Times)
‘The continuous outpouring of beautiful tone; it's mesmerizing … these performances are beyond criticism’ (Fanfare, USA)
‘They sound absolutely superb, in the right hands, on the modern grand piano. And Marc-André Hamelin has the right hands, as his first two-disc set showed … playing of crisp clarity and deep feeling, superbly recorded’ (Dominion Post, New Zealand)
‘This Hyperion double set contains some of the finest performances of Haydn sonatas I have heard. Hamelin's playing overflows with ardent lyricism and I especially enjoyed his naturalness of rubato. The close sound quality from the Henry Wood Hall is impressive and the booklet essay by Richard Wigmore is helpful too’ (MusicWeb International)
Haydn - Piano Sonata No. 59 In E-flat Hob. XVI:49
The sonata is in 3 movements:
I. Allegro - Haydn opens the first movement with a theme in the tonic of E-flat:
After a short cadenza the recapitulation begins. The second theme returns, transformed to the home key, there is a short coda and the section comes to an end with a flourish. As with many sonatas of the time, Haydn directs the entire development and recapitulation sections be repeated. to my ears, the beginning of the repeat is rather jarring after hearing the close of the section the first time, but perhaps that is what Haydn intended. He wasn't above such things.
II - Adagio e cantabile - A tender adagio in B-flat that is interrupted by an impassioned section in a minor key. The alternation between the major and minor themes continues with both themes being decorated and expanded. The initial theme finally wins out and leads to a short coda that wraps up this gentle movement.
III. Finale : Tempo di Minuet -The minuet is in the home key, while the middle section is in the key of E-flat minor. The minuet returns the music to the home key and the sonata is finished with a short coda and a final cadence.