Unsurpassed Haydn

The recent sad death of John McCabe cannot be allowed to pass without a mention of his recording of the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas for Decca in the 1970s. His account has never been surpassed and probably never will be surpassed. If somebody had told me ten years ago that I would now listen to more Haydn than any other composer I would have laughed at them. Which just goes to show that my world and my music are never one and the same.

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Philip Amos said…
Bob, I bought this box when it appeared and treasure it still. One of McCabe's great achievements. He is sorely missed.

I recall being greatly puzzled by Stephen Kovacevich saying how much he disliked Haydn. His humour, he said, was like "...a person making jokes in Latin". Both have now passed, but at that time I counted among my closest friends an eminent historian of the Roman Empire and one of the foremost experts on Mediaeval Latin. Both were music lovers also, but neither could fathom what Kovacevich meant by this. It puzzles me still.
Civic Center said…
I know what you mean about Haydn. His music is so sane compared to most other composers, and he leavens it with lots of humor. I recently bought the Brilliant Classics set of everything he ever wrote and have been thoroughly enjoying the ramble through it.
So happy to see the comments on the humor in Haydn - I'd never fully appreciated it until playing his music in a community orchestra. Somehow the humor catalyses that composer - performer - audience connection in a very direct, non-conscous, way.

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