Andrew Rangell plays Haydn Sonatas

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On this week’s Full Rotation: Album of the Week Andrew Rangell performas probing interpretations of four of Haydn’s distinctive piano sonatas.

Rangell is often considered a "pianist’s pianist." He's known for his quirky, imaginative and questing interpretations of some of the landmarks of the piano literature, particularly Beethoven's piano sonatas, and Bach's Goldberg Variations. Yet his public performing career was sidelined for many years as a result of chronic nerve and muscle problems in his hands; during the 1990s he gave only a few select appearances. To many fans, the time he spent in recovery seemed only to have made him a stronger, more determined performer than before.

Rangell has continued to record all along. The four sonatas on this recording were all written during Haydn’s tenure as the court composer for Prince Eszterhazy in Hungary. The Sonata No. 56 in D Major opens the proceedings and proves the ideal way to discover Rangell’s intense knowledge and appreciation of the composer. The dark Sonata No. 33 in C minor is particularly rich in dramatic contrasts, the swirling finale being especially impressive. The brief Piano Sonata No. 32 in G minor is also elegantly and seamlessly performed, with occasional arresting flashes of color and a witty dialogue between hands emerging with perfect clarity. The Sonata No. 56 in D major rounds out the collection in a bright and charming reading.

Andrew Rangell, piano

Haydn Sonatas

Bridge 9313

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Comments [1]

Melvyn M. Sobel from Freeport, New York

Many thanks for allowing the QXR audience a chance to hear Rangell's new Haydn disc. I have been a devotee of the Haydn sonatas for nearly forty-five years, so I never miss a chance to audit a new pianist. As misguided and self-indulgent as Rangell's Haydn is--- he nearly outdoes Gould and Hamelin for sheer eccentricity--- I must compliment his sheer moxie. His performance, though, is the kind that one listens to once, but will never return to; it's simply too aberrant.

Feb. 09 2010 12:50 PM

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The Albums of the Week are compelling new recordings that we spotlight every week. These include creative repertoire choices, engaging musical personalities and artistic statements that stand out from the pack. You can hear the Albums of the Week throughout the day and evening on WQXR.