Haydn cham­pion

BBC Music Magazine - - Letters -

I am glad to read that Paul Lewis is ‘on a mis­sion to re­veal the great com­poser’s hid­den depths’ by play­ing and record­ing Haydn pi­ano sonatas (March). My late hus­band, the pi­anist and com­poser John Mccabe, would be de­lighted. He was on a sim­i­lar mis­sion all his life, and fought con­tin­u­ally to bring this won­der­ful set of key­board works back to pub­lic no­tice. He played Haydn pi­ano sonatas and his other solo key­board works through­out his ca­reer, reg­u­larly play­ing 29 of them in pub­lic and, be­tween 1963 and 2010, giv­ing more than 380 per­for­mances of them. He also recorded all the sonatas for Decca and was, to the best of my knowl­edge, the first ever to do so. This was be­tween 1974-77, and was part of the great resur­gence of in­ter­est in Haydn at this time. They have been on sale ever since (apart from a short hia­tus be­tween the avail­abil­ity of the

LP sets and the reis­sue on CD box set) over a pe­riod of more than 40 years. I be­lieve it was as a re­sult of my hus­band’s ad­vo­cacy that some of the ‘great pi­anists’ you men­tion de­cided to ex­plore the Haydn solo key­board reper­toire, and I hope you will find room to pub­lish this let­ter in the in­ter­ests of his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy. Mon­ica Mccabe, via email

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