You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Classical CD review

Haydn, ‘The Piano Sonatas’

HAYDN: The Piano Sonatas

Ekaterina Derzhavina

(Profil)

Ekaterina Derzhavina’s name was new to me, but this 9-CD set of Haydn’s complete piano sonatas should broaden her recognition considerably. Her playing is elegant, stylish, and above all imaginative, showing just how creative the composer was in a genre for which he is rarely celebrated. Derzhavina plays a modern piano but uses little pedal, so her performances come off as neat and self-contained but with plenty of room to grow more extroverted as Haydn’s sense of humor and unusual structural gambits demand.

In fact, one comes away from these performances appreciating how little of a fixed pattern there was for Haydn’s sonatas. In contrast to the string quartet and symphony — templates that Haydn all but invented — there were few formal constraints on these pieces. They could start, or end, with slow movements, or have none at all. A sonata could begin or end with a minuet and trio, a form almost always reserved for the inner movements of a symphony. In writing for a single performer, Haydn seemed to relish his freedom to experiment.

Continue reading below

All this comes through delightfully in Derzhavina’s playing. Not surprisingly, since she plays all the sonatas, you can find better performances of some individual pieces, especially the later ones. But viewed as a survey of the entire corpus, her feel for Haydn’s originality comes through brilliantly.

DAVID WEININGER

David Weininger can be reached at globeclassicalnotes@gmail.com.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.