This week we will continue to get better acquainted with “Papa Haydn” as we listen to a complete performance of Sonata No. 54 in G Major played by Latvian pianist, Vestard Shimkur. This sonata is a wonderful example of elements that characterize the music of Haydn. For example, the primary theme is a very tidy four measure “question” phrase followed by a four measure “answer” phrase. In this sonata, Haydn uses fermatas to separate themes and add drama and sforzandos are scattered liberally throughout the first movement. Pay attention to how he develops the main theme each time it returns with added scale passages or changing the rhythm pattern of the bass line. How many times does the opening theme return?
The second part of this Sonata is marked Presto and you will immediately hear the change of tempo. The energy and speed of this movement sounds as if someone hit the fast forward button! Notice how close to the keys the pianist keeps his fingers as he flies over the scale passages. This movement illustrates another typical Haydn sound which is the way he breaks up the melody between the hands giving a lively and playful feel to the music. It is no wonder that when describing Haydn’s music, adjectives such as witty, playful, humorous,and surprising are used. How would you describe this music?