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Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
#2913432 11/18/19 10:52 AM
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My teacher is trying to push me a Haydn sonata, he insists that I learn at least one of his works before I can tackle Mozart and Beethoven. But Haydn is the one composer that I have listened to several times and I can't really like any of his music. I don't dislike it either, but I can't get passionate about learning anything that he composed (that I have listened, anyway). So I am looking for the shortest, easiest sonata. I know that difficulty is somewhat relative, but I did some digging around and I find out that Haydn wrote several "divertimentos", which were early sonatas that are much shorter and easier than his other works (Hob. XVI/8 seems to be among the easiest). But then, my teacher told me that those are actually sonatinas, so they don't count as I am supposed to learn a full sonata.

He suggested a very difficult and long sonata, Hob. XVI:45, that I actually liked (sort of), but it seems too difficult and it is definitely too long. So I looked for other options, Hob. XVI:35, 25, 26, 27 they are not very long but I can't evaluate which one would be easier (or which one I dislike the least). I looked at Henle's rating of Haydn sonatas and there seem to be a lot of options around Lv.5 and 6. I could listen to all while looking at the sheet music to decide, but that would be time consuming and boring. So I thought about creating this post and ask for your opinion.

What is the least troublesome Haydn sonata, apart from his early sonatas ("divertimentos")? I think I could handle something slightly more technical as long it is a shorter piece (fewer pages to learn) and sounds nice. I would also like to hear about your favorite Haydn sonatas, as I am having trouble liking any of his music.


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Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913433 11/18/19 10:54 AM
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I've no advice for you but I echo your sentiments about Haydn. I never got into his music and none of my teachers pushed any of his Sonatas on me before I took on Mozart or Beethoven pieces, so I actually never learned any Haydn pieces.

My first serious Beethoven piece was the Moonlight Sonata and that gave me a lot of insight on his style and as for Mozart, I found a lot of the Bach Inventions helped me to tackle Mozart much better. As you can see from my repertoire, it hasn't really affected me that much, At my age, if I dont like a composer, I am not going to force myself to play any of his music, lol.

Last edited by AssociateX; 11/18/19 10:56 AM.

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Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913437 11/18/19 11:03 AM
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I don't know many Haydn sonatas, but my favorites are HOB 37 in e minor and HOB 34 in D major. I'm planning to start the first one next month and I'm rather excited about it smile. I wanted to start with something easier but I didn't like divertimentos at all.

Last edited by Greta99; 11/18/19 11:04 AM.
Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913438 11/18/19 11:03 AM
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Jane Magrath lists these as the easiest in her book:

XVI/7
XVI/8
XVI/9
XVI/10
XVI/11
XVI/12

then, more difficult:
XVI/1
XVI/3
XVI/4
XVI/6
XVI/13
XVI/23
XVI/27
XVI/34
XVI/35
XVI/37
XVI/39
XVI/40

These are the sonatas that are commonly taught, her book is "The Pianists Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature" - a handy reference book to have...

Sam

Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913440 11/18/19 11:07 AM
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What about Sonata in F major Hob XVI:9? Grade 5.


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Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913442 11/18/19 11:24 AM
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The first Haydn Sonata I ever did was, Hob.XVI:35.

It isn't that long. Though, I did think it was still a bit difficult to get everything evenly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml2YP8N8OaI

Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913446 11/18/19 11:31 AM
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The first 10 in the Hoboken XVI catalogue are all short and easy, not much beyond the sonatinas of Diabelli, Dussek et al, but aren't too engaging though No. 8 in G Major is very popular.

Hob XVI nos. 27 and 37 are also popular and not too demanding. No. 23 and 31 are personal favourites mostly because of their inner movements and if individual movements are acceptable you might also check out the Adagio in F, Hob XVII/9.

Haydn wrote with imagination, wit and humanity. You may appreciate him more when you can hear the seeds of Beethoven in his work.


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Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913448 11/18/19 11:50 AM
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I can't compare with other sonatas as it's as of now the first and only one from Haydn I have learned, but XVI/50 gave me lots of joy to learn and play.

It's definitely not short, but second and third movement were fairly straightforward to learn, so the biggest challenge for me was the longer and more difficult first mvt.


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Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913460 11/18/19 12:36 PM
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I suggest the Capriccio in G. Not a sonata but my guess is your teacher would approve of it.
Here Schiff discusses it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyiDgsIFzIk
Here Kocsis plays it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUfj3aJonrs

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/18/19 12:38 PM.
Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
Greta99 #2913477 11/18/19 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Greta99
I don't know many Haydn sonatas, but my favorites are HOB 37 in e minor and HOB 34 in D major. I'm planning to start the first one next month and I'm rather excited about it smile. I wanted to start with something easier but I didn't like divertimentos at all.


It's actually the other way around, Hob 34 is e minor and Hob 37 is D major. I've played Hob 34, all 3 movements, and I absolutely love it! It's not easy, though, although not the most difficult, either. I think Haydn grows on you. When my (relatively advanced) daughter was choosing a sonata for this year with her teacher, she initially opted for Beethoven's Pathetique over Haydn Hob 49 (only the first movements in both), but ended up switching to the Haydn and enjoyed working on it more (even though from listening she thought she preferred the Pathetique). Just saying...

Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
dumka1 #2913479 11/18/19 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dumka1

It's actually the other way around, Hob 34 is e minor and Hob 37 is D major.


You are right, thank you for fixing it blush

Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913501 11/18/19 03:09 PM
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AssociateX
For some reason, my teacher thinks it is important to learn Haydn. I guess because he was a very influential composer for the classical era and Mozart and Beethoven kind of learned from his style. I know that it is not strictly necessary, but I don't mind learning pieces that I don't like if I am gaining something from it. Starting with the Moonlight sonata seems very challenging, but I am sure you learned a lot from that experience.

Greta99
I just listened to Hob. XVI:37 in D Major and actually liked it! Some parts of the first movement remind me of early Beethoven. But I am not sure this is one is among the easier sonatas. I will ask my teacher tomorrow.

Sam S
Yeah, I think the easier ones in that list are all considered "divertimentos". I think it would be better if I learned one of these, the "full-sonatas" would take too much time to learn and I am eager to start learning Mozart and Beethoven. But I will talk to my teacher tomorrow. Thanks for the input!

Tyrone Slothrop
That one is considered a "divertimento", it is more like a sonatina. But it is a nice one, there is one performance of that piece that I like (it might be a bit too fast, but very well played), done by Andrei Andreev. I think that piece is a good one to start, but I am not sure my teacher will agree with that. I will check tomorrow at my lesson.

hyena
That one, Hob. XVI:35, is actually the sonata that I liked the most, among the not so difficult ones. It is nice to hear that you started with that one.

zrtf90
The early sonatas would be ideal, but I don't think they count as a full sonata, so I am not sure my teacher would agree.
I've listened to all your suggestions and I really enjoyed the first movement of Hob. XVI:23, being played by Horowitz, the entire XVI:27 sonata and the second movement of XVI:31. I have no doubt that Haydn is a great composer, I guess I will learn to like it over time. The first time I listened to Rachmaninoff I didn't like his music very much, but now he is one of my favorite composers.

Mati
The first movement of Hob. XVI:50 is huge, I don't think I can learn that. It is a nice piece though, I just listened to a recording by Andras Schiff and it is amazing, I can't dislike anything played by him. One thing that I just realized about why I didn't like Haydn very much is because I haven't been listening to great recordings of his pieces, just random people playing his music.

pianoloverus
I really liked that Capriccio in G, but unfortunately, it is not a sonata and it seems quite hard. But that is a piece that I would be passionate about learning, so thank you for the suggestion. I will save it for the future.

dumka1
I noticed that, Greta99 swapped the keys. I listened to both pieces twice and the first time I liked XVI:37 better, but then listening to a different interpretation I enjoyed the XVI:34. I think maybe I will end up liking Haydn after all. But I don't think those are good pieces to start. I can see that I could learn those pieces, but the end result would probably be a mediocre interpretation, after spending a lot of time learning and polishing.


Thank you all for the answers! Tomorrow I have a lesson and I will discuss my options with my teacher. I think I should do an easier sonata ("divertimento") to get used to Haydn's style and then pick any one of the "full sonatas" that I liked (XVI:27, 34, 35 or 37), based on your suggestions. I was hoping I could move on with Haydn fast to get to Mozart, but I think I will end up enjoying his music after all. There were so many pieces that I didn't like when I started learning and then the grew on me. And also the opposite, pieces that I liked but ended up hating after learning.


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Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913509 11/18/19 03:43 PM
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What standard are you looking for for a Hadyn Sonata. I actually would go on your teacher recommendations. I found these Henle grades not a great guide. Some Level 7 pieces I have found easier than Level 5 pieces and they are quite subjective. I did a similar thread previously about rachmaninov trying to find the easiest piece but in the end I picked on a piece I liked rather than go for the easiest one. I actually like this sonata by Hadyn. I personally would only learn one movement from a sonata rather than all the sonata so if you are intimidated by your teacher suggesting a sonata please check if they really wanted you to learn all of it. The first or third movements I would say are around Grade 8 standard at a guess. It so may be doable for you which I think is like a 5 or maybe a 6 on the Henle scale. I'm not sure of the correlation but again your teacher will best advice.


Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2913879 11/19/19 04:38 PM
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Moo
I know these difficulty ratings are somewhat subjective, but I think they can give a rough estimate that is quite good, especially if you're comparing pieces from the same composer.
Thanks for your suggestion, that is a very nice sonata, I enjoyed all three movements. I know that learning just one movement is an option but, personally, I would feel like I didn't really finish the piece.


Just to give closure to this thread, today I talked to my teacher and I expressed my concerns about doing a more difficult sonata. He mentioned that the sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI:35, is a good one to start, but also gave me the option of doing two easy sonatas ("divertimentos") instead. So I decided to do Hob. XVI:8 and 9, as I believe I can learn those pieces faster and better than a more elaborate sonata.
Thank you all for the help smile


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Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2914014 11/20/19 12:14 AM
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Glad you & your teacher settled on a couple of sonatas.

Few weeks ago I played through the first 2 volumes of the Haydn sonatas (Alfred editions) trying to find one to work on. Must have played about 40 of them. I was hooked. These are bar none the absolute best way to learn & appreciate the capital C-Classical Style. The wit, optimism and ingenuity of Haydn are evident everywhere. Haydn, bluntly, was a genius.

Haydn was NOT a pianist. Unlike Mozart & Beethoven whose piano works are conceived by piano virtuosos, Haydn is more approachable. He wrote these sonatas for his students. They are better as pedagogical studies than the considerably more difficult Mozart & Beethoven sonatas.


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Re: Haydn Sonata - short and easy, is there any?
facdo #2914080 11/20/19 05:59 AM
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I have worked on several of the Haydn sonatas. In most cases at least one of the movements is difficult - quite often the finale. Lately I have been playing the g-minor sonata, Hob.XVI no.44. This one has only two movements, and I find it easier than most other Haydn sonatas. I submitted the first movement for the last ABF recital, and you can check my performance of it there. The second movement has comparable difficulty. Actually I don't like too much discussing gradings and difficulties of pieces, because I think they depend more on how you play a piece than which piece you play. The ornaments and trills of the g-minor sonata can be performed in many different ways - from simple to very difficult.

By the way - the g-minor sonata is one of the few minor sonatas of Haydn, and I think it is very beautiful.


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