Haydn: Differentes petites pieces:
ed. Christopher Hogwood
Review by John Collins

Joseph Haydn
Differentes petites pieces
Edition HH231.SOL Bicester 2009 (Paperback £10.95)
ISMN 979 0 708059 75 2

Available through www.editionhh.co.uk

Christopher Hogwood has edited these three volumes of small keyboard pieces by Haydn and Mozart, consulting the printed editions by Artaria (Vienna), Longman & Broderip (London) and Cappi (Vienna) as well as various MSS. Undoubtedly aimed at the burgeoning ranks of amateur, frequently female, performers, this collection of ten pieces was drawn from symphonies, operas and string quartets, thus being distinguished from form the majority of such anthologies that were compiled from a single genre. Many of the pieces are indeed also “petites”, being considerably abbreviated versions of the original; only the andante no. I is substantial to cover three pages. Most have repeated sections but nos ii, and viii do not.

Whether Haydn himself was involved in the selection and arrangement of this pieces, or, had even given his permission for their publication in this format is an open question. Probably not designed to be played through at one sitting, given that no. viii is in Bb and no. ix is in A major (although the large scale sonata in Eb has a central movement in E major), these charming pieces pose few technical challenges to the enthusiastic amateur apart from a few hand shifts in extended arpeggio figures (such as in the figure in no. I, bars 37-38 and its recurrence). Tempi are mainly Adagio to Allegretto, no. viii is an allegro with Alberti-bass semiquavers in the LH against quavers or crotchets and the second part of no. x moves from allegretto to presto, remaining in 6/8. The carefully notated rests in the RH figures in no. iii add interest and require careful observation. The menuetto and trio (both unusually in the same key, Bb) no. iv and the rondo no. v in Eb are pleasant changes to the non-distinct forms otherwise found in this collection, and the short coda after the second section in no. vi also adds variety.

The harmonic language is fully galant, with some chromatic moments and many highly melodic themes; indeed, no. ix is so tuneful that its first section cries out for lyrics! All pieces are in the major, but nos. I and ix have central sections in the minor

The printing is very clear well laid out, with only the first piece by Haydn requiring a page turn. The introduction is succinct and sources are fully described; the full and extensive critical commentary gives details of where the original of each piece is to be found, with variant tempi and other differences where applicable. Given both Haydn’s (and his publishers’) inconsistency in the graphics used, some advice on the interpretation of ornaments for the less experienced would have been welcome – the sign associated predominantly with the turn is found both with and without the stroke through it (both are found in no. x but the inverted turn in bar eight is written as three grace notes preceding the main note), mainly between notes where the first one is dotted; variants in the MSS provide some level of elucidation of this thorny problem. Several facsimiles are reproduced.

These delightful pieces will provide excellent teaching material for harpsichord, clavichord or forte piano, as well as a most pleasant divertissement for more experienced players.

© John Collins, Jul 2011

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