Sonatas Nos 32 in G minor, 31 in A flat and 33 in C minor
Tall Poppies TPT: 66’22”
reviewed by Neville Cohn
To listen to Geoffrey Lancaster playing Haydn on the fortepiano is to be drawn ineluctably into the sound and mood world of the composer. And that was very much the case at a series of recitals that Lancaster gave in Perth recently.
Before listening to the first of a projected series of compact disc recordings devoted to Haydn’s complete keyboard sonatas, I wondered to what extent that sense of spontaneity that made his live recitals so extraordinarily satisfying would be captured on disc. Would the freshness and vitality transfer successfully to recordings?
Any concerns I might have had on this point evaporated within moments. There is a wonderful sense of spontaneity here – and it is abundantly in evidence. Indeed, the playing on this CD is so ‘alive’ that listening to it provides that additional frisson one associates primarily with experiencing a profound musical interpretation in the flesh, as it were.
Over the years, I have lost count of the times I’ve heard Lancaster in recital. Hopefully, this recording and those to follow will allow listeners living far from the main routes of the international concert circuit to experience the magic of Lancaster’s interpretative insights.
Just as in his recent recitals in Perth, each of the sonatas here is prefaced by a short prelude which, Lancaster explained to the audience, was the common practice in recital in Haydn’s day.
Lancaster provides his own prelude to the Sonata No 32 in G minor but the other two sonatas – Sonata No 31 and Sonata No33 – are prefaced by preludes composed by Muzio Clementi.
As a whole, this recording is pure delight. Make a point of adding it to your CD collection; it will enrich your music life.