Emanuel Ax - Haydn: Piano Sonatas Nos. 29, 31, 34, 35, 49

Emanuel Ax - Haydn: Piano Sonatas Nos. 29, 31, 34, 35, 49
Release Date:
Haydn: Piano Sonatas Nos. 29, 31, 34, 35, 49

Emanuel Ax has been wending his way through the Piano Sonatas of Haydn since 1988 and this 2000 recording of five of the sonatas is his third disc in the series. As on the two earlier discs, Ax's tone is clear and clean, his rhythm is light and lively, and his technique is more than up to the music's technical requirements. And as on the two earlier discs, Ax's interpretations are graceful and elegant with a minimum of pedal and a maximum of lucidity. But because Ax's interpretations are fundamentally boring, none of that matters much. Ax himself may or may not be convinced of the music's worth, but his performances themselves are hardly convincing. Unlike the magisterial Alfred Brendel or the expressive John McCabe or even the eccentric Glenn Gould, Ax's Haydn performances are so wholly objective as to be uninvolved and even uninterested. And when Ax does approach subjectivity, as in the central Andante of the Sonata in E flat, Hob. XVI:45, his interpretation comes awfully close to sentimentality, bending lines and lingering over cadences.

Sony's sound is as clear and clean as Ax's playing, but as lacking in depth and warmth.

Keyboard Sonata in A flat major, H. 16/46
I. Allegro moderatoEmanuel Ax8:18
II. AdagioEmanuel Ax5:42
III. Finale. PrestoEmanuel Ax3:45
Keyboard Sonata in D major, H. 16/33
I. AllegroEmanuel Ax5:56
II. AdagioEmanuel Ax5:03
III. Tempo di MinuettoEmanuel Ax3:36
Keyboard Sonata in E flat major, H. 16/45
I. ModeratoEmanuel Ax7:25
II. AndanteEmanuel Ax6:21
III. Finale. Allegro di moltoEmanuel Ax5:20
Keyboard Sonata in C sharp minor, H. 16/36
I. ModeratoEmanuel Ax6:19
II. Scherzando. Allegro con brioEmanuel Ax2:50
III. Menuet and Trio. ModeratoEmanuel Ax3:55
Keyboard Sonata in A flat major, H. 16/43
I. ModeratoEmanuel Ax6:24
II. MenuettoEmanuel Ax2:07
III. Rondo. PrestoEmanuel Ax4:25