- Keyboard Sonata in E major, H. 16/31
- Keyboard Sonata in D major, H. 16/42
- Keyboard Sonata in C major, H. 16/35
- Keyboard Sonata in E minor, H. 16/34
- Keyboard Sonata in A major, H. 16/26
- Fantasia (Capriccio) for piano in C major, H. 17/4
- Andante with variations for piano in F minor, H. 17/6
- Keyboard Sonata in E flat major, H. 16/49
- Keyboard Sonata in D major, H. 16/33
- Keyboard Sonata in G major, H. 16/39
- Keyboard Sonata in C major, H. 16/48
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Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin has gained renown for his performances of hyper-virtuosic music from the nineteenth century, such as Alkan's "Symphony for solo piano." The technically modest music of Haydn wouldn't have been on anybody's picks for what he might do next, but his two-CD selections of Haydn sonatas, of which this is the second, are delightful. His technical skills are on display in the zippy finales, taken at brisk clips with passagework executed with startling smoothness. The performances, although not in a Romantic vein, are anything but historically informed, and perhaps the students, friends, and at least one lover for whom Haydn composed these works would barely have recognized Hamelin's performances. His sparkling ease and fluency have the effect of turning Haydn's sonatas into miniatures. But in the most important task for the Haydn performer, bringing out the composer's sense of humor, Hamelin excels. Sample the six-minute and not terribly often performed "Fantasia in C major, Hob. 17.4," which Haydn, according to a letter he wrote to his publisher, composed "in a moment of great good humor." That's putting it mildly. Hamelin takes the already extreme fermata about three-fifths of the way through and extends it to a dimension probably never heard before in a Classical-period work. But he has set up the increasingly outlandish modulations preceding this event so carefully that it all works. There are plenty of smiles throughout, with superb recording by Hyperion at London's Henry Wood Hall. Notes are in English, French, and German.