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Haydn Piano Sonatas NOS. 29, 31, 34, 35, 49

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 15, 2003
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$19.72 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 1 left in stock. Sold by Media Supplies Outlet and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Performer: Emanuel Ax
  • Composer: J. Haydn
  • Audio CD (April 15, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • ASIN: B00008WT4W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,626 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By M. Cunningham on October 6, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Emanuel Ax's subtle sensitivity and crystal clear tone suit these beautiful sonatas perfectly. For the listener who appreciates fine phrasing, and the subtle appreciation of every note, it doesn't get any better than this. Haydn truly understood the piano ("clavier"), and he knew how to use it to the fullest. And Emanuel Ax truly understands Haydn. The combination makes for wonderful music. If you need lots of loud, dramatic playing to catch your attention, then this is not for you. If you like clarity, refinement, and sterling silver tone, you will love this CD. By the way, the CD sound quality is top-notch.
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Truly a stunning achievement, this is a wonderful recording from many aspects. Emanuel Ax performs the Haydn piano repertoire with the finesse and careful attention to detail that they truly deserve. His touch and tone is pure are clear and ringing. He provides wonderful contrast in moods from the subtle wit Haydn could pen in these works, to the most austere moments. These sonatas, and in particular performances such as these , deserve a much more prominent place in the current concert repertoire...but are far too often overlooked.

Other factors making this a splendid recording... (1) the piano technician who prepared the instrument for these recordings was "spot on" in getting the instrument to top shape for the crisp, even touch and technique of Ax. (2) the engineers did a great job of placing the microphones and picking a studio or hall that allows this musical performance to really ring forth at the loudest moments without distortion, yet also pick up the small nuances of Ax's brilliant pianissimo passages. (3) the selections are far from "hackneyed"...in fact, just the opposite. This recording, as I stated earlier, truly could stand as a testament to provide a strong case to hear Haydn performed more often.

I believe that it was intended for Ax to record the entire output of Haydn's Piano Sonatas, but after 3 volumes, the project was either cancelled or put on hold...truly unfortunate. Considering the number of complete Beethoven and Mozart cycles readily available (and I am not complaining...I own multiple sets of each myself) it is unfortunate that we do not see many major artists, the likes of Emanuel Ax, with such an offering. Honestly, I think that it is more of a decision by artist and repertoire executives than the artists themselves... gosh knows, "money talks!"
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Recently, I bought the complete recordings of the Haydn sonatas with John Mccabe (artist). While I am very pleased with them-technically spot on, I noticed immediately how they lacked a certain romantic je ne sais quoi when compared to the playing by Emanuel Ax (1st recording. Great Performances). Although I read good reports online about the 2nd and 3rd recordings in the Ax series of these pieces, the reviewers seemed to think they lacked the fire of the 1st set as he had adopted a more classical style to his approach.....I bought them anyway to hear for myself; and, glad I did. While listening to the Mccabe recordings, the mail came with the Ax recordings and I immediately put them on to listen. POW! The difference is remarkable. Instead of hearing a technically correct, well played Haydn sonata...the room suddenly was flooded with 'music' with an almost 'dance-like' quality. While he (Ax) did not record the complete set of Haydn sonatas, forget the box set with John Mccabe and buy all three of the Emanuel Ax recordings of these pieces.
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I discovered this album via this year's Grammy Awards. Yes, I know these awards are sometimes politically motivated, but regardless, the sonatas and Emmanuel Ax' performance are wonderful and impeccable. The first movement of the 29th Sonata is a delight and like much of Haydn has some basis in Austrian folk songs. You hear that in Haydn anyway and this is a good example. Because he uses fewer notes than his wunderkind, Wolfgang Mozart, the tones seem more memorable and truer. I am buying the other two Ax performances of Haydn's sonatas.
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