J.Haydn :: Sonata n°47, Hob. XVI/32
0:12 Allegro moderato
One of the things I like so much on Haydn, is the lack of dynamic indications (p-mf-f) in much of his keyboard sonata's. Also in this one. That might seem as a weird point of view, but it makes sense in a way that this tells us something about our present approach of playing music.
Well, the simple fact that I can fill in the dynamics of this piece as I feel it on that moment, more than playing what is indicated, gives a fantastic feel of freedom. I can choose to do what I want, one to one related to what I feel that is appropriate. That results not only in different approaches, but also in more flexibility between the chosen dynamics.
But is this idea not the opposite of what we would like to achieve, namely knowing as much about the original intentions of the composers? Here we have LESS information, and it feels as MORE fun...
Same with articulation marks. Only a few. of course you can think of certain standards, patterns, as much music that takes off with no dynamic mark, often was considered to begin with forte, but again: no indication of Haydn means that I can leave his information on this topic out, and focus fully on the music and ..; my interpretation of it.
That is what it is about: all indications of the composer, more than the notes and the note values, are not more than an interpretation, a very important one, of course, but no more than that.
Do I say that that is useless information? No, not at all. On the contrary, it is priceless information. But on the foundation of an instrument that the composer could have known, or did know, we might consider that if other 'interpretations' work, we might also want to try them out.
Not to say that I would change a Mozart indication... out of fear for reactions? Respect for Mozart? Who knows. I even may try it once. When I'm a bit older and wiser than today ;-).
A short word on this recording. Haydn often uses a x/4 bar structure to indicate an x/8 structure. Most of his prestos are in 2/4, but to be regarded as 4/8. But also here in the first part, the 4/4, is, in my opinion, to be considered as a "8/8". So, that has implications on the tempo choice, accentuating the 8th notes means a slower pulse.
Not that I was thinking too much on that aspect, but what I did realize, only while practicing, I admit, is the very serious tone that comes with this tempo. And that should not have surprised me, since Haydn writes this piece in... b minor (h-moll), a key of death and sorrow. If you are used to a faster interpretation, you should listen a few times to get rid of memories to that, and see if you feel the same thing.
The Menuet... even the Menuet has different tempi, this one is a very slow version. But it has a certain grace that comes with this tempo, and in the philosophy of what I wrote above, I just left the piece as a felt it that evening.
Whereas the presto... is, according to notation, perhaps slightly too fast, more a prestissimo, but the directness of a clavichord is very tempting to go that direction, and to me, it feels as the rhythmical pattern of a rider on a horse, in vain trying to reach the point that he needs to reach on time.