B minor (Hoboken 32)
C minor (Hob 20)
D (Hob 37)
D (Hob 51)
A flat (Hob 43)
Alain Planès (piano)
Recorded in August 2001 at Salle modulable, IRCAM, Paris
CD No: HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 901763 Duration: Reviewed: March 2004
Haydn Piano Sonatas Volume 3 Alain Planès (Harmonia Mundi)
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
This is the third volume of Alain Planèss Haydn sonata series, and its every bit as inspired as the first two (HMC 901761 & 901762). I suspect that these recordings are a well-kept secret, for its only recently that I landed on those earlier issues and, frankly, I was amazed. Some of that amazement was due to Planès himself; he isnt a household name in the UK, and one cant listen to everything, but he is now firmly established in my mind as a Haydn interpreter of absolute distinction, alongside Brendel (Philips) and Buchbinder (Teldec).
Planès has the range of a modern piano to exploit and he does so with great imagination; he can conjure the bald timbre of an early piano and be fully sonorous as he believes is appropriate. His decisions are nearly always infallible. He is as varied as the music itself, alive to the wit and seriousness, the drive and spaciousness, the nostalgic and the forward-looking, and he is quite capable of being detached and searching as well as light and witty.
With a full clutch of repeats each sonata here is given its full dimension, Planèss classical/romantic approach maybe epitomised by the first movement of the great C minor sonata, its first movement given with incisive breadth and also with a rumination that dispels any worries about the pianist playing within authentic parameters. Throughout, Planès is a thoughtful and sensitive stylist and finds deep expression in the Largo e sostenuto of the D major sonata (Hob 37) as directly an emotional response as one could want.
As ever with Haydn, the sheer diversity of the music, no two movements the same, is breathtaking; and Planès has the full measure of Haydns coruscation, elegance, pathos and comedic asides. In short, this is wonderful playing of wonderful music. To complete a very distinguished issue, Planès has been recorded with a presence and a clarity that is virtually ideal.