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Quartets - Released October 11, 2019 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
Six quartets: six works that are key to understanding what Joseph Haydn brought to western music. This effort by the Quatuor Hanson is particularly successful because they are past masters in constructing and expressing the soul of this subtle art. And what's more, they bring it off with a fascinating level of instrumental skill. Listening to this piece, we have to bow down once again before the genius of a composer who, along with Boccherini, invented a new genre and immediately studded it with masterpieces of staggering quality. Judiciously picked out from among Haydn's vast corpus, these six quartets are touching both in their expressiveness and in the perfection of their writing. Not a single note out of place, a perfect balance of four voices and inspired right from the first moment up to the incomplete closing Opus 77, which was a contemporary of Beethoven's first Quartets, Op. 18 – works that betray the lessons their writer learned from his master. More than two hundred years after his death, Haydn has only just found recognition as one of the greats, although he had been accorded that status during his life. But his works for keyboards, the symphonies, the oratorios, and to a lesser extent, the operas, speak in his favour. More than a forerunner, Haydn is a founder, a genius whose influence was felt by those who came after him, foremost amongst whom Beethoven and Schubert. This splendid album puts him (back) in his rightful place. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released March 30, 2010 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio
Perhaps one of classical music's least noted but most important stories of the new millennium has been the profusion of recordings of Haydn's keyboard sonatas, each as different from the others as are the major schools of playing Beethoven, if not more so. Part of the reason for the variety is that, as French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet points out here, Haydn's manuscripts contained very little in the way of interpretive markings, leaving the field open for future performers and editors. Bavouzet, operating in the sonically superb environment of Suffolk, England's Potton Hall and playing a modern Yamaha, nevertheless adopts the fruits of historical research in his approach. He takes the repeats and heavily ornaments them, without, however, drawing attention to himself in the process. More generally, his tone is clean, very quiet, and rather harpsichord-like. In the slow movements of these four middle-period sonatas he's low-key indeed, but his playing holds up under attentive listening; his playing successfully draws the listener into an intimate space. Bavouzet's readings generally have the sort of Haydn X factor that leaves the listener completely unsure of what's coming next. Strongly recommended and whets the appetite for other albums in the occasional series that Bavouzet promises is coming. © TiVo
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released November 15, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Joseph Haydn composed around 15 masses between 1748 and 1802. The Missa Cellensis in honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae, presented here in this new release from the Akademie für Alte Musik and the excellent RIAS-Kammerchor Berlin conducted by Justin Doyle, is better known by the later name Missa Sanctae Caeciliae ("Mass for Saint Cecilia"). It's the most vast of Haydn's masses and his only mass-cantata in the solemn Neapolitan style, whose numbers alternate between arias, ensembles and choirs. It seems that Haydn had intended the composition of this mass to be a great coup: it is a deft mix of the "modern" writing of his day and the "baroque" writing of his predecessors. In his monumental biography of the composer, Marc Vignal notes correctly that Haydn's masses are first-rate, not only set against the production of his quartets or symphonies, but also when set against the religious music of his times. This recording, taken at a June 2018 concert at the Berlin Konzerthaus, completes a RIAS-Kammerchor discography which is already rich in choral works but which hadn't yet tackled Haydn's masterpieces. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 1, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
After having released his complete recording of Mozart’s Sonatas and collaborated with the singer Mark Padmore (Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann), Kristian Bezuidenhout continues to expand his discography with Joseph Haydn this time. Under the record label Harmonia Mundi, the South-African pianist emphasizes the whimsical and fanciful elements of a selection of Haydn’s works that were influenced by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, a composer from whom he learnt a lot and described with a certain fondness. Here, the Sonata in C major (Hob. XVI:48) is halfway between the Variations on a Theme and a totally unbridled fantasy, whereas the Sonata in C minor (Hob.XVI:20) unlocks the full dramatic potential of keyboard music. The later works on this album are contrasted with earlier ones such as the charming and spirited Sonata in G major (XVI:6) which is followed by two sequences of variations. This repertoire showcases Haydn’s inexhaustible creative energy as well as his ability to reinvent himself with each of his works. The performer relishes the performance here, playing on a Paul McNulty fortepiano modelled on an Anton Walter Viennese piano from 1805. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released May 17, 2019 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released April 20, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
After celebrating thirty years of life and work together with the Trios by Dvořak, our three wandering companions (Vincent Coq, piano, Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian, violin and Raphaël Pidoux, cello) have brought out another round of Trios, this time by Joseph Haydn, the inventor of this form, which is an inheritor of the baroque trio sonata, with a cello part often providing the basso continuo. There are 39 authentic compositions by Haydn for this instrumental format, which he wrote at various points throughout his life. The music is of very high quality and it unites all the characteristic forms of his style, his vivacity, expression, freedom of tone and form, and the zest of his cheering humour. The Wanderers have judiciously selected their works from three different epochs for this new album which offers the Trios n° 14, 18, 21, 26 & 31 which offer plenty of surprises and rare tonalities from Haydn, like A-flat major, F-sharp minor, or E-flat minor. The performance is both fluent and lucid. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released October 26, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
To say that the concerto was one of Haydn's favourite forms would be a bit much, daft even. The man wrote a good hundred symphonies, dozens of quartets, trios, piano sonatas, fifteen or so masses and as many operas, and oratorios... Currently we know of three violin concertos (others being lost or apocryphal), two cello concertos (others... see above), one horn concerto, one for trumpet (there are no others) and at most about ten concertos for piano. Musically, they are fascinating works, but the level of technical skill they demand runs from moderate to a bit tricky. But the First Cello Concerto is not without its moments of difficulty, such as the rapid high notes in the final movement, and it offers some real fireworks. It should also be noted that most of the concertos were written for Esterházy, specifically for the first soloists in the house orchestra of Konzertmeister Luigi Tomasini and first cellist Joseph Weigl. The orchestral accompaniments offered the soloists some fine backdrops: in particular in the second movement of the Concerto for violin in C Major , with the orchestra's string section accompanying the solo violin with a sort of lute-playing that becomes a kind of serenade à la Don Giovanni. Amandine Beyer takes up the violin for this recording, while Marco Ceccato deals with the cello solo – both members of the Gli Incogniti ensemble ("The Unknowns"), a fluid grouping that plays without a conductor. Their leaderless style means that the musicians all listen to one another: it's a lovely way of making music (and sadly rare in the world of orchestras). © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or
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Quartets - Released March 10, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet + Video Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released May 26, 2011 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released September 29, 2017 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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Sacred Oratorios - Released January 16, 2007 | Teldec

Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released January 13, 2014 | Mirare

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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 2009 | Glossa

Distinctions Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
The commission came from the port city of Cádiz, in southern Spain. Joseph Haydn had been invited to compose orchestral passion music for performance during Holy Week. The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross, which contributed significantly to Haydn's international reputation, also exists in versions for string quartet and piano, and as an oratorio, but the symphonic version presented here is the original. The composer himself considered this one of his finest works, and today, more than two centuries later, we can only concur. Haydn "translated" Christ's last words, culled from the various gospels, into seven slow, sober and imposingly spiritual movements. After Cádiz the work became removed from its liturgical context. In modern-day programming attempts have been made to reconstruct the original setting, but in a concert hall, spoken commentary only interferes with the music, and even more so on a recording. In respecting this objection, but at the same time desiring to create a meaningful space between the movements, Frans Brüggen invited the Dutch-American composer Ron Ford (Kansas City, 1959) to compose instrumental intermezzi. "This was a real challenge," says Ford. "I looked for a balance between contrast and creating suitable connections. With this sort of commission you have to ask yourself: what haven't we had yet? Haydn is punctual, logical, direct. What is missing is a sense of swell and ebb. I explored that route, with the sound of the Orchestra of the 18th Century in mind. Their breathing style of playing is unique in the world." (Glossa) Under the steady hands of Frans Brüggen, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century performs the orchestral version of Haydn with sculpted balances, molded ensembles, and bright but warmly blended colors. Brüggen gives Haydn's music the sense of seriousness and spirituality it needs to succeed, but never allows the work to become bogged down in its own solemnity. Brüggen has written that he was looking for brief musical interludes to take the place of the Gospel readings that were originally intended to separate the movements, and Ford's intermezzi serve that function. The aesthetic viewpoint of the listener will determine whether or not they satisfactorily serve that function. (Qobuz) 
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Classical - Released April 17, 2015 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released June 15, 2012 | RCA Red Seal

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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Lieder (German) - Released April 7, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
Late in life, Franz Joseph Haydn made about 125 arrangements of Scottish songs for the publisher George Thomson. Thomson's project was an ongoing one in the 1790s and early 1800s; after a volume with arrangements by Scots composers sold well, Thomson was apparently inspired to commission more of the same from "name" composers like Haydn and later Beethoven, Hummel, and Weber. The results were more than purely financially motivated. The aged Haydn proclaimed in one of his submissions to Thomson that he was proud of his work, and Beethoven seems to have gone on to set a variety of national popular songs (the term "folk songs" is anachronistic here, for the materials were contemporary) without any commission at all. Haydn's are pretty regular in structure, with a strophic setting for a trio of piano, violin, and cello, and an instrumental introduction that neatly sets the mood and the pitch world for the song. It's easy to see why Haydn became intrigued by the project: within the severe constraints of the form, he introduces quite a variety of expressive touches, and he was obviously well coached on the meaning of the texts (or absorbed a great deal of English in the course of his travels to London), even those in Scots dialect. There is little to tell the listener that German tenor Werner Güra is anything other than a native English speaker, and he even does well with the Scots pieces (everything is translated into German and French in the CD booklet, and the Scots texts are heavily footnoted for English speakers). The interpretations by Güra and his trio of instrumental collaborators (keyboardist Christoph Berner plays a fortepiano) are probably ideal for these little pieces. Güra keeps the music to its proper small scale, and he gives the instrumentalists room to move and avoids the mechanical quality of earlier readings. There's nothing revelatory here, but for those interested in the development of Scottish song, or in hearing some of the last notes Haydn set to paper, this is a strong pick. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 13, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
The vagaries of the market have led a French pianist to record all his albums in England (Jean-Efflam Bavouzet for Chandos) whereas an English pianist, Paul Lewis, recorded all of his for the French label Harmonia Mundi. They both share a real love of Haydn. While the Frenchman has been recording sonatas by the Austrian composer from the start, Paul Lewis waited until he had assimilated Beethoven's 32 Sonatas and Schubert's as well, so as to be able to get to the root of the repertoire. For his first album dedicated solely to Haydn, he has chosen four sonatas, 32, 40, 49, and 50, allowing him to deploy his whole expressive range, dispelling once and for all the "Papa Haydn" tag that has for so long dogged the great musical innovator. In Paul Lewis's hands, Haydn's music is not that of an ancestor, however good, but of a Viennese classicist, performed with great nuance, a fluid sound and a wonderful, plastic beauty which makes the keyboard sing, underlining Haydn's joyful and puckish side as well as his passing melancholy. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 29, 2006 | Warner Classics International

Distinctions Diapason d'or
Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra have a knack for delivering something with which many other orchestras and conductors struggle. That is, to produce a box set that has the ability to maintain a listener's interest from disc one to, in this case, disc five. Like their cycle of the Mozart and Schubert symphonies, this set of the late Haydn symphonies is a treat from start to finish. Although Haydn's symphonies do not display the dramatic changes from one symphony to the next that a listener might expect when listening to a cycle of the Beethoven or Mahler symphonies, Harnoncourt and the RCO play with ample exuberance, energy, and minute attention to detail so as to make every note and phrase as fresh as the last. The recordings, made between 1987 and 1993, are highly consistent in sound quality and could just as easily have been made in the same season. The RCO's sound is generally very well-suited to Haydn: crisp strings, punchy brass that don't get in the way, and winds that are equally comfortable in either an accompanimental or soloistic role. The one potential bugaboo that pervades the recording is the timpani, whose sound all too often covers the rest of the orchestra with its very boomy attacks. Apart from that, this collection makes for an excellent reference for the late Haydn symphonies. © TiVo