Franz Joseph Hayden, Keyboard Sonatas H. 16/46, 16/47, 16/44 and 16/2, arranged for 8-string guitar and played by Paul Galbraith on Paul Galbraith Plays Hayden.
I described Galbraith's eight-string guitar in my discussion of his album Bach: the Sonatas and Partitas. This unusual technology has helped him tackle some complex keyboard pieces that nobody had tried before on the guitar. I like the results! The guitar has a warmer, more expressive sound than the harpsichord or piano. I'm not sure how much I'd like these Haydn pieces played on a keyboard... I'm afraid I haven't even listened to them that way! But on the guitar, they sound rich, lavish, and beautifully architectured.
I'm afraid I don't have anything very intelligent to say about these pieces: Haydn is not one of my favorite composers, so I'm pretty ignorant about how his repertoire. I first learned to love modern classical music, then jumped back to Bach and early music, and only later worked my way back to Beethoven and then Mozart, focusing on their string quartets. For me Haydn is, alas, mainly a hole yet to be filled in. His string quartets seem a bit plain compared to Mozart's, though my friend Bill Schmitt says he is much more wise and human than Mozart (who, to be fair, died young). Anyway, listening to these pieces made me realize that Haydn is indeed a master, so I guess it's just a matter of time before I learn to appreciate more of his work.
Galbraith plays in a very "classic" rather than romantic style, letting the structure of the music stand out clearly. He also plays some movements quite slowly. Because of all this, some people find his playing inexpressive or lacking in drama. I don't! I find that it pulls me in.
© 2005 John Baez