Notes and Editorial Reviews
“London” Sonatas: in E?,
Hob XV: 22 (first version, 1794).
Four Variations on “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser,”
Hob III: 77
Sylvia Berry (fp)
ACIS 83148 (59:53)
Haydn travelled to London in 1791, at the invitation of the German-born impresario Johann Peter Salomon. The 59-year-old composer was, by this time in his career, one of the greatest celebrities in music, and was treated as such by the music-mad English. The three “London” Sonatas were inspired by his very stimulating time there, and two of them were specifically composed for London-based pianist Therese Jansen. This recital also includes two other keyboard works from this late period in Haydn’s output, an
in G, and Four Variations on
God Save Emperor Franz
, the famous melody that Haydn also used in the variation movement in his String Quartet op.76/3 (and which has survived being used as the German national anthem for over 90 years, including, infamously, during the Nazi era.).
The American pianist Sylvia Berry has made a specialty of period instrument performance (she has a master’s degree in historical keyboard instruments from Oberlin), and here uses an especially appropriate fortepiano for this music, an 1806 Broadwood, a product of the famous London builder who also made the last piano played by Beethoven. Haydn was a guest of John Broadwood during his London visit, and knew his instruments well. Berry revels in the fabulous tonal range of this superbly restored instrument (care of Dale Munschy, of Massachusetts), drawing out woody, pastel colors, as well as a somewhat nasal overall character that is noticeably different in dramatic impact than the more open sound of a modern piano. Not to beat a dead horse, but it is worth repeating that this must have been, essentially, the sound that the composer had in his mind when creating this music. Berry plays this music with a completely engrossing sense of wonderment and technical aplomb. She is especially captivating in the faster, outer movements, where she presents the great joy and humor of Haydn at a truly exalted level. In short, this is a completely delightful release; great music, excellent recording and production values, and a vivacious and even revelatory period instrument performance.
FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
Works on This Recording
Sonata for Keyboard no 61 in D major, H 16 no 51 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Sylvia Berry (Fortepiano)
Written: circa 1794-1795; London, England
Venue: Concert Hall of Drew University, Dorothy
Length: 6 Minutes 23 Secs.
Be the first to review this title