There has been a recent glut of recordings of Haydn’s music for the keyboard. We at the Haydn Society of Great Britain have been focused on Roman Rabinovich’s Haydn project. This was launched earlier this year with a recital in London to publicise his first double CD “Haydn Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1”, though there have been other notable recordings by Paul Lewis (on Harmonia Mudi), Rebecca Maurer (Genuin), Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s 8th volume of his sonata survey (Chandos) and Jerome Hantaï (Mirare), to name a few (here’s Haydn Society director Denis McCaldin clutching a copy of the remarkable F Minor sonata during a chat in his study over the weekend).
Along with this gold rush comes a real nugget, a new disc from Ivan Ilić for Chandos. This recital is different, in that it concerns the transcriptions for piano of selected symphonic works by Haydn, by the composer’s contemporary Carl David Stegmann. Ilić’s story is one of chance discovery – he was invited to rifle through a box of sheet music by a friend and chanced across a copy of Stegmann’s arrangement of Symphony no. 44. Three years later and a recording of this – along with further transcriptions of Symphonies nos 75 & 92 – makes for an absorbing reappraisal of the manner in which this part of the repertory would be consumed in the pre-gramophone middle-class home.