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Following his fabulous set of Mozart sonatas for Avie, Leon McCawley has embarked on a cycle of Haydn sonatas on Somm.

There is an abundance of joy in McCawley’s sparkling acciaccaturas of the D major Sonata (No 59), maximally contrasted with the central Largo e sostenuto, a dignified post-Baroque sarabande. He is expert at finding underlying depth in apparent naiveté, such as in the G major (No 54), where Haydn’s extended explorations emerge naturally, the finale an explosion of energy, stunningly articulated. Perhaps McCawley is at his finest in the enigmatic E minor (No 19), revealing an absolute jewel. The B minor (No 47) is a profound utterance; the great E-flat (No 59) is grand and impressive.

Somm’s recording captures every nuance. McCawley easily holds his own among the likes of Bavouzet, Brendel and Hamelin. Great joy awaits within.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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