No 2 in A major, Op. 2, No. 2
These early sonatas are all fleet, mostly linear energetic mini-masterpieces. They’re actually not that short,but they lack the heavyweight punch of the middle and late period, though that is not a criticism. This one is dedicated to Haydn, and there are lots of Haydnesque touches, but it’s too smart and memorable to be his. I’m not being rude, but a fair bit of Haydn’s stuff is a bit formulaic, like most of Mozart’s symphonies. You’re just not allowed to say so.
Simple uncomplicated performances abound. Gould is good, Perahia too, although The Knife has antibodies to the fact that Perahia always gets good reviews, when he’s often just Mr Bland. The palm however, goes to shaggy haired Italian, Andrea Lucchesini. His box set is live, nicely recorded, and if you can find it, usually terrific value. This guy is gifted. Like Pollini, he’s very comfortable in the occasionally unlistenable 20th century stuff, such as Berio. Not as unrelated as it sounds. Beethoven invented dissonance. As Stravinsky said of The Grosse Fugue, “contemporary forever”.