Joseph Haydn
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The collection of Joseph Haydn’s piano works presented here by Ragna Schirmer represents the kind of balance which was perfectly natural in the eighteenth century but is rather unusual today: the juxtaposition of sonatas and one-movement piano works – whether miniatures like the Adagio Hob. XVII:9 or expansive pieces like the Variations Hob. XVII:1. "Classical piano music" is virtually synonymous with the piano sonata for us. Everyone knows that Beethoven composed 32 sonatas, but piano pieces? Yet that category did after all make up a large part of the piano music composed in the last three decades of the eighteenth century – and with good reason. The growing musical interests of the middle classes at the time created a correspondingly expanding market for variations and smaller pieces which appealed to amateur music-lovers ("dilettanti") as well as to professional musicians with expert knowledge.

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