Joseph Haydn's rich work contains an almost inexhaustible supply of piano sonatas. There are more than 50 which thus constitute a significant part of its total production. One of the great contributions of this composer in these sonatas - as in many other genres, notably symphonies and string quartets - is to have created bridges between very different stylistic eras and to have posed at the same time. time the basics of the classical sonata.
In addition to 25 complete sonatas, volume I contains in the appendix five isolated movements perhaps intended for other sonatas, as well as the beginning of seven extinct sonatas. A first group of nine sonatas obviously designed for advanced students probably dates from the 1750s, a time when Haydn still had to earn his living in the service of the composer Nicola Porpora or as a freelance artist. The authenticity of some of them is not entirely attested. A second group also of nine "small" sonatas, but clearly easier, seems rather to date from the 1760s. The last group of sonatas appearing in this collection includes seven sonatas written by Haydn between 1765 and 1772, that is to say when he was already chapel master of Prince Esterházy. They are of the best Haydn, teeming with surprise effects and piano subtleties.