Thoughts on recording

June 12, 2014

Two weeks after finishing recording of the complete Haydn Piano Trios (40 pieces on eight CDs), I am finally having a moment to reflect on what it feels like to live with this music for five years. The conservatory-instilled veneration of “father of the symphony and string quartet,” has evolved into a deep appreciation of the man, who produced an astonishing variety of music, while often working within rather tight schedule in a suffocating eighteenth century European court environment (not to mention an unhappy marriage).

 

W. Somerset Maugham’s observation that “the essence of the beautiful is unity in variety” definitely applies to Haydn’s music. On the surface, his music is stylistically unified, but a closer look reveals a great variety of moods ranging from light-hearted joy and folksy rowdiness  to poignant melancholy and clever sarcasm. It is very refreshing to work on music which invites you to uncover hidden layers of meaning in a contemporary culture that is so full of explicit art. I was continuously humbled by how challenging it can be to play a fairly simple passage in Haydn with a particular character or mood. He often manages to pack so much musical richness in a moment of time lasting about as long as some single chords in Wagner operas. I wonder what playing this music again in ten-fifteen years will feel like…

 

The first four of eight volumes have been released by Centaur Records and can be found on ITune or on Amazon.com. 

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