Ludwig van Beethoven was just twenty years old when he first met Joseph Haydn, in 1790. Two years later, the young composer joined the Viennese master’s numerous pupils. But, weary of his teacher’s frequent absences and stung by his criticisms, he soon broke off his lessons, declaring bitterly some years later ‘I never learnt anything from Haydn’. It is this distance, this difference of style and ambition between Beethoven and his former teacher that are to be heard in this new recording by Olivier Cavé, the award-winning Swiss pianist who is a regular guest at the leading festivals. Whereas Haydn’s Sonata Hob. XVI:32 (1776) aims for a classical but vigorous style, Hob.XVI:48, composed only four years later, is more subdued and academic. Beethoven sought to break with this classicism, allowing himself greater expressive scope and replacing the traditional third-movement minuet with a scherzo in his Sonata no.2, a clear sign of his revolutionary spirit.

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