Gary Cooper - Haydn: Late Piano Works (2009) [DSD64] DSF
Genre: Classical Quality: DSD64 (*dsf) 4.41MHz Total Time: 01:07:70 min Total Size: 3,07 Gb
Haydn's late piano sonatas, like other keyboard works of the High Classical period, have been played on the fortepiano often enough, but British keyboardist Gary Cooper (now there's a marquee-ready name) suggests here that he is offering something more: "a perfect marriage of instrument and composer's music," capable of expressing the "infinitesimal [he may well have meant 'infinite' here] subtlety of expression, inflection, dynamic range, colour, and every mood under the sun" in Haydn's music. The instrument involved is a 1785 Walter fortepiano from Vienna, now housed in a Dutch collection. It might have been nice to learn a bit more about its history, for whoever restored it did a superb job. There is little in the way of extraneous noise to put off the listener who is new to the fortepiano. Cooper delivers on his ambitions for the performance and the praise he heaps on the instrument. His are expressive readings, with lots of use of the pedal and emphasis on sustained-note effects. More than in perhaps any other recording of these works, one can experience the contemporaneity of these pieces. In Cooper's felicitous words concerning the Piano Sonata in E flat major, H. 16/52, "one senses Haydn's excitement in encountering a flourishing, dynamic piano scene in the London of Dussek and Clementi; and his response was characteristically imaginative and equally dynamic!" The two late variation sets -- not only the serious Variations in F minor, Hob. 17/6, but also the less celebrated arrangement (by Haydn himself) of the Variations on Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser, from the "Emperor" string quartet -- are exquisitely shaped in order to bring out what would have been new piano sonorities. Cooper also uses a slightly unequal temperatment claimed to be characteristic of the late eighteenth century. Again a word or two going into more detail might have been in order, but Cooper rightly notes that the effect of this tuning is especially pungent in the E major Adagio movement of the E flat sonata (track 9), emphasizing the surprise of this unusual key. Cooper lingers on the long notes here, luxuriating in the almost vibrating intervals. The engineering from the reliable team at Channel Classics ably supports Cooper's performance, and the end result is one of the few recordings that really places Haydn's late keyboard music on its rightful level with his symphonic and chamber masterpieces.
TRACKLIST: 1 Sonata in C Major: I. Andante con espressione 9:32 2 Sonata in C Major: II. Rondo, Presto 4:10 3 Variations in G Major on "Gott erhalte" 5:37 4 Sonata in E Flat Major: I. Allegro 7:38 5 Sonata in E Flat Major: II. Adagio e cantabile 9:10 6 Sonata in E Flat Major: III. Finale, Tempo di Minuet 3:48 7 Variations in F Minor 15:45 8 Sonata in E Flat Major: I. Allegro 9:00 9 Sonata in E Flat Major: II. Adagio 7:41 10 Sonata in E Flat Major: III. Finale, Presto 5:27