pet sound : Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s Haydn Keyboard Sonata series


Having ignored these recordings for years I am delving into them and finding them very enjoyable. Listening to Vol. 2 today.

1. Sonata for Keyboard no 19 in E minor, H 16 no 47bis
2. Sonata for Keyboard no 20 in B flat major, H 16 no 18
3. Sonata for Keyboard no 32 in G minor, H 16 no 44
4. Sonata for Keyboard no 48 in C major, H 16 no 35
5. Sonata for Keyboard no 50 in D major, H 16 no 37

This second volume in [b]Jean-Efflam Bavouzet[/b]’s Haydn sonata cycle is every bit as outstanding as the first. As previously, he ornaments repeats liberally and observes second-half repeats, playing the codas (if any) only the second time around–a very intelligent decision. Indeed, it works so well that I would be surprised if this doesn’t turn out to be one of those “authentic” performance practices that no contemporary sources discuss because it’s so obvious on purely musical grounds.

Highlights include the splendid D major sonata (No. 50), the quick outer movements of which Bavouzet invests with irresistible energy. He’s equally adept in the slow, songful adagios, particularly the one that begins Sonata No. 19 (in E minor). It’s also remarkable how much like updated Scarlatti Sonata No. 32 (in G minor) sounds in Bavouzet’s hands. Also as before, the sonics are as brilliant and natural as the playing. A wonderful recital, from first note to last. — David Hurwitz,

Bavouzet has completed five volumes, and one only hopes he will complete the cycle of all the Haydn works for keyboard solo.  I usually prefer to hear these works on period instruments (Beghen, Brautigam, Schornsheim), but it is easy to make an exception in this case.

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