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The Consort

John Collins

Volume 66, Summer 2010

Joseph Haydn Differentes Petites Pièces
Edition HH231.SOL, Bicester 2009
(pbk £10.95)
ISMN 979 0 708059 75 2

Christopher Hogwood has edited this volume of small keyboard pieces by Haydn, consulting the printed editions by Artaria (Vienna), Longman & Broderip (London) and Cappi (Vienna), as well as various manuscripts. This collection of ten pieces was undoubtedly aimed at the growing number of amateur performers, who were frequently women, and is drawn from Haydn's symphonies, operas and string quartets; this renders it different from the majority of such anthologies, which were compiled from a single genre. Many of the pieces are indeed petites, being considerably abbreviated versions of the original; only the andante no.1 is sufficiently substantial to cover three pages.

Whether Haydn himself was involved in the selection and arrangement of these pieces, or had even authorised their publication in this format, is an open question. They were probably not designed to be played through at one sitting, since no.8 is in Bb and no.9 is in A (although the large-scale sonata in Eb has a central movement in E major). These charming pieces pose few technical challenges to the enthusiastic amateur, apart from a few hand shifts in extended arpeggio figures.

The harmonic language is galant, with some chromatic moments and many highly melodic themes; indeed, no.9 is so tuneful that its first section almost begs to be sung. All pieces are in the major, but nos.1 and 9 have central sections in the minor. The printing is very clear; the introduction is succinct and sources are fully described. The full and extensive critical commentary gives details of where the original of each piece is to be found, with variant tempi and other differences noted. Facsimiles of the cover and of two pages are reproduced.

Given both Haydn's (and his publishers') inconsistency in the symbols employed, some advice on the interpretation of ornaments for the less experienced would have been welcome - the sign associated predominantly with the turn is found both with and without a stroke through it; both are found in no.9, but the inverted turn in bar 8 is written as three grace notes preceding the main note. The sign employed for a turn is mainly found between notes where the first one is dotted; variants in the manuscripts provide some indication of how they were performed. These delightful pieces will provide excellent teaching material for harpsichord, clavichord or forte piano, as well as a most pleasant diversion for more experienced players.

We are grateful to theThe Consort for permission to reproduce this review.

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