Notes and Editorial Reviews
HAYDN Piano Sonatas: in E?, Hob. XVI:49; in B?, Hob. XVI:41; in b, Hob. XVI:32; in E, Hob. XVI:31; in C, Hob. XVI:50 • Chad R. Bowles (pn) • JRI J126 (72: 18)
"Chad R. Bowles also plays a Steinway D, and the differences are astounding; this instrument—in the hands of this pianist and recording engineer Zane Baker—is warm and vibrant, producing a rainbow of colors. Now a Steinway does seem suitable for all but the earliest Haydn sonatas. Bowles plays with uninhibited imagination and sweep; one feels he loves this music, even before reading his program notes. Perhaps he loves it a bit too much—he occasionally gets carried away by ebullience (some tempos are too fast for either the music or the pianist), and there are
moments of Romantic fervor in his readings. But wit, zest, and the unexpected are on display throughout. As I have said before: One either likes a performance or one doesn’t; only then is it time to analyze why. My head may recognize the liberties Bowles takes, but my heart loves the results. I’m usually serious and attentive when listening, but Bowles had me laughing and dancing during the Presto finale of the E-Major Sonata. I recommend this disc as the starting point for anyone not familiar with Haydn’s sonatas, despite its lacking Haydn’s three greatest keyboard works—the C-Minor Sonata, Hob. XVI:20; the E?, Hob. XVI:52; and the Andante and Variations in F Minor. Once captured by this music, one can go on to the other works and to the fortepiano. If you are already familiar, if you delight in this music as I do, all the more reason to catch up with Bowles."
FANFARE: James H. North
Seek No Further! Bowles’ steady, buoyant rhythm is enlivened by his response to the nuances of Haydn’s articulation. He has fast fingers, makes sense of the ornaments, and "gets" Haydn’s jokes ... This is a well chosen selection of Haydn’s sonatas. Bowles’ enthusiastic playing and clear recorded sound make it a success. Recommended.
-- CLASSICAL VOICE OF NEW ENGLAND
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