Choc de Classica
Compared to the far more popular cycles by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, the piano sonatas of Franz Joseph Haydn have for too long occupied an inferior position among listeners, though they are highly esteemed by pianists who know their importance and greatness. Musically, Haydn's sonatas are formally innovative and rich in invention and expression, and they require great skill and taste to be performed effectively. This is perhaps why only the most confident and capable of pianists, such as Marc-André Hamelin, Jenö Jandó, John McCabe, and Rudolf Buchbinder, attempt to record complete sets. Add to this select company the name of Ekaterina Derzhavina, a Russian pianist who has established a fine reputation for her interpretations of Bach, and who now demonstrates her thorough mastery of Haydn. Playing with clean lines and a refined touch, Derzhavina creates the effect of Classical period practice on a modern piano, and by avoiding the pedals, her sound is crisp and intimate, without the quirkiness of a fortepiano's tone quality. These recordings were made between 1993 and 2008, and Profil's audio quality is first-rate, with close microphone placement and a pleasantly resonant acoustic that makes the music especially appealing.