Day 144: The Brilliance of Riko Fukuda

HaydnCD144Today brings the following:

1. More snow, ice, and high winds,

2. A new performer,

3. Spectacular piano sonatas.

Can’t say much for #1.

It’s been that kind of winter in these parts.

I can say a great deal about #2 and #3.

Today’s performer is Riko Fukuda on fortepiano.

From her web site:

RIKO FUKUDA studied piano and oboe at the Toho-Gakuën conservatory in Japan. A grant from the Dutch government enabled her to study with Stanley Hoogland at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where she specialised in fortepiano. Her solo recordings of works by Pinto and Dussek on the Olympia label have met with great acclaim, and in 2001 she released two CDs with piano sonatas of Haydn on Brilliant Classics.

Yes, she did. I’m listening to one of them now. And it’s very good.

Riko’s playing is remarkable for its expressiveness and Continue reading

Day 140: A Trip to the Dentist (For Me, Not Haydn)

HaydnCD140A new day, a new performer on the fortepiano.

His name is Stanley Hoogland.

I don’t know anything about him.

But I’ll let my fingers do the Googling to find out.

Apparently, he has his own web site, which is a good thing these days. From his site:

Stanley Hoogland was one of the first pianists to take an interest in the fortepiano, which gave rise to a series of recordings made in the early seventies with such artists as Anner Bylsma and Vera Beths.

As a soloist and chamber musician he has been performing all over the world and he has been a guest of many festivals.

For recordings and concerts he often uses period instruments of his own collection and as a player of the modern piano, he does not limit himself to any fixed period in music history.

Very cool.

And so are these piano sonatas.

Hoogland plays with verve. I was Continue reading

Day 139: Lively and Robust

HaydnCD139Today’s CD features five more Piano Sonatas performed by Ursula Dutschler on fortepiano.

Whereas I didn’t dig yesterday’s compositions and/or performances, I find today’s more enjoyable.

They are much more lively and robust than yesterday’s fare.

I’m sure it helped that Movement I (“Moderato”) of Piano Sonata in C (“Divertimento”) HOB XVI: 10 was a much livelier moderato than I’ve heard before, and the construction of the piece was more intricate. So it was a brisk, commanding way to open the CD.

Movement II (“Menuet”) was also more intricate and lively than other menuets to which I’ve listened.

Movement III (“Finale: Menuetto”) was a fine way to round out this sonata.

Very enjoyable.

Stapert_Playing Before the Lord_pb_wrk01.inddI’d like to interrupt this report with news of my discovery of a just-published book called Playing Before the Lord: The Life and Work of Joseph Haydn by Calvin R. Stapert, professor emeritus of music at Calvin College.

Stapert writes with great love for the subject matter, and unabashedly admits so in his Preface:

You will not have to read very far – in fact you have probably read far enough already – to realize that I love Haydn and think he belongs very near the top of any list of greatest composers…if I am bothered that Haydn’s stock has slipped since the days when he was widely recognized as Europe’s greatest living composer, it is not for his sake. Though at one time it mattered quite a bit to him, he has no such concerns anymore. But it does matter to me.

Stapert’s respect for the subject matter infuses every word of this volume. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Now, back to my assessment of today’s music.

Movement I (“Allegro”) Continue reading

Day 137: Burt van Oort Rocks!

HaydnCD137Today’s CD features five more exquisite Piano Sonatas performed by Burt van Oort on fortepiano.

My feelings about this music are the same today as they were yesterday.

In other words, I really don’t have much to say about these compositions other than “FAVORITE!” and “Do yourself a favor and listen to them!”

They are remarkable.

I’m not sure any tracks are standouts this time, though. They’re all about equal, for different reasons. The fast ones are lightning fast. The slow ones are poignant and melodic.

Mr. van Oort’s fingers are more nimble than mine will ever be. The sheet music must have been black with notes, especially those really fast notes. What are they called? I don’t know. Here’s what they look like:

The fleet-fingered performer: Continue reading