Haydn: Solo (Auenbrugger Sonaten)

 

With the three great groups of piano sonatas - 1773, 1776, and 1780 -  Haydn had developed at once an intimate yet sophisticated musical form and establihed himself as the leading composer of piano sonatas with whom none, with perhaps the exception of Mozart, could compete.  If one disregards the last two sonatas of this group (G-Major and c-minor) the so-called "Auenbrugger" sonatas are considerable further along the way toward a bonafide fortepiano style than the earlier cycles. Exemplary are the two sonatas in C-Major and c-sharp minor. They are again designed to be a contrasting pair, but their structure is at once much more richly and subtly shaped. 

No coincidence here that both sonatas are really among the few which have continued to enjoy a measure of popularity in current concert life. 


 Hyacinthe Jadin: Complete Sonatas for Fortepiano

 

One the greatest losses in music history, as most people are  aware, was the premature death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. But almost few aware that music suffered another loss perhaps as great: the death of Hyacinthe Jadin in 1800  at the age of only 24. From the music he left, had he fulfilled even a part of his promise, he would have been a giant. As it is, on the basis of the  music we do have, he deserves to be considered one of the finest composers of the classical era after the big four  (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert). Classical afficianados can be grateful for Richard Fuller's splendid recording of the complete piano sonatas of Hyacinthe Jadin. They are works of genius; surprisingly so, with a fertility of invention, a richness and complexity that are all the more astonishing when one considers how very young Jadin was, and how isolated (in the aftermath of the French Revolution) he was from the newest developments in music from abroad. This set is a foundation item in the discography of the High Classical Period, and deepest gratitude  to Richard  Fuller for making it!  J.P. Marmano (CD Baby)


W. A. Mozart: Klavierwerke I, II u. III

 

I was not particularly prepared to like this release, largely because I seem to have a blind (deaf?) spot regarding the sound of the instrument involved, the fortepiano. Too often, for me, the sound of the fortepiano sounds perilously close to that of a toy piano tinkling away when what I'd prefer is the strong sound of the modern pianoforte. Still, listening to this CD I was charmed by the sound which is actually quite appealing without being quaint. That is to say, there is strength to the tone even though one would never mistake it for that of a modern Steinway. But more important is the playing of Richard Fuller. Fuller is an American fortepianist and clavichordist who specializes in the music of the Viennese Classical and early Romantic periods. He ably demonstrates the wide range of expression and dynamic of the fortepiano, adding discreet ornaments and lightly elaborated cadences as presumably Mozart himself or other late 18th-century instrumentalists would have done. The result of both his approach and the sound of the instrument is that these sonatas which, in the words of Anthony Newman, are 'miniaturized' when played on a modern grand piano, emerge as subtle but strong works. Even the first sonata -- the ever-familiar Sonata in C, K.545 -- is heard as the potent work it truly is, not the miniature as performed by beginning piano students. The performances of the four sonatas, plus the fine Fantasy in D Minor -- one of Mozart's towering keyboard works -- are both light and intense. Don't ask me how Fuller manages that seeming contradiction. This recording was originally made and released on an obscure German label. It and two subsequent Fuller Mozart Klavierwerk CDs were remastered and re-released by Palatine Records of Portland, Oregon. They‘re well worth hearing. (F.Scott Morrison)

 

 


Vanhal: Klavierquartette op. 40 Nr. 1-3

 

In the musical life in Vienna at the end of the 18th century, a time which brought forth countless new developments in musical style and form, Johann Baptiste Vanhal (1739-1823)  was among the most prolific and vital composers/performers of his day.  A highly esteemed colleague of Haydn, Mozart and others, Vanhal was a pioneer in the composition of chamber music with fortepiano.  The brilliant Slovakian ensemble Musica Aeterna, specialists for baroque  and classical music performed on period instruments together with the Austrian/American virtuoso fortepianist Richard Fuller have achieved a brilliant and  unique interpretation in their premier recording of Vanhal's piano quartets op. 40.  A remarkable "Gustostück" and must-have for every classical enthusiast (Kurier, Austria). 


Vanhal: Claviersonaten

 

The three sonatas presented here were first published in Vienna, in 1812/1813 and represent Wanhal's mature compositional style are are noteworthy, representative works of the Viennese Classical period. In matters of form, key relationships and thematic development, Wanhal clearly moves within the conventions of the late 18th century.  The occasional flurries of virtuosity (intricate passagework, rapid scales, parallel tenths and octaves)  are however more reminiscent of Clementi and Dussek, than of Haydn and Mozart. In general the sonatas display a noteably thicker texture which suggests at times Beethoven and Schubert; The presence of oft-changing affects in the manner of C.P.E. Bach or Haydn - particularly in the first movement of the g-minor sonata - is a unique aspect of the works for this  particular period. 


Joseph Haydn: Trios for Piano, Flute and Violoncello

 

Following the death of Haydn's employer, Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy, in September 1790, Haydn took complete charge of his business dealings.  Publishers Bland (England) and Artaria (Vienna) shared the publications of most of the composer's chamber music and organized the sale of his works across the European continent. The demand for Haydn's music was enormous, the sale of best-selling trios, quartets and sonatas was especially lucrative.  The Musikalische Zeitung writes about the undisputed leader among European musicians: "The inexhaustible genius apparent in his masterworks is a source of wonder and admiration from Lisbon to St. Petersburg and Moscow and beyond..."

 

Haydn was well aware of his fame and also set his sights on commercial success.  It was not long in coming. Artistically speaking, Haydn had already developed  his musical language, particularly the depiction of the most subtle nuances of the human soul, to perfection in over thirty years of professional experience as a composer, and these three  "flute" trios, Hob. XV:15, 16, and 17 (the Fuller's fortepiano playing nearly always leads the way), with their thematic richness, are among the most finely-wrought  examples of Haydn's art.


Leopold Mozarts Violine; KV 304, 305, 306, 454

 

Musical instruments are only as good as their players. The initiative of Vienna'sKunsthistorisches Museum (the collection of early instruments) to bring their collection truly to life is of course a great idea, but one needs musicians who can, for example with a violin that is in all probability Leopold Mozart's and with a fortepiano from the work shop of Andreas Stein, really make music, and whose abilities (and not "promi-Advertising") speak convincingly for themselves. With Maria Bader-Kubizek and Richard Fuller this is definitely the case. The sonatas by W.A. Mozart chosen for this recording display a lively dialoMusical instruments are only as good as their players. The initiative of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum (the collection of early instruments) to bring their collection truly to life is of course a great idea, but one needs musicians who can, for example with a violin that is in all probability Leopold Mozart's and with a fortepiano from the work shop of Andreas Stein, really make music, and whose abilities (and not "promi-Advertising") speak convincingly for themselves. With Maria Bader-Kubizek and Richard Fuller this is definitely the case. The sonatas by W.A. Mozart chosen for this recording display a lively dialogue with bubbling musicality and admirable unpretentiousness. The climax of the recording is the finale to the great Sonata in D-Major (KV 306), a rollicking and racy rondo with changes of tempo and metrum topped off with a brilliant duo-cadenza in which the performers never miss a chance to bring out both the wit and drama of this music. The often over-romanticized Sonata in e-minor (KV 304) comes across as the work of nobility and seemingly uncomplicated transparency it truly is.gue with bubbling musicality and admirable unpretentiousness. The climax of the recording is the finale to the great Sonata in D-Major (KV 306), a rollicking and racy rondo with changes of tempo and metrum topped off with a brilliant duo-cadenza in which the performers never miss a chance to bring out both the wit and drama of this music. The often over-romanticized Sonata in e-minor (KV 304) comes across as the work of nobility and seemingly uncomplicated transparency it truly is.

-Oliver Buslau


Richard Fuller's CDs are available for purchase at jpc and Gramola. or directly from the artist.