For those who know you through recordings, Haydn is a new composer for you. Is that the case? And what brings you to his music here and now?

I played quite a bit of Haydn when I was a teenager and also while I was a student, so he’s not really new. It’s been a while since I turned my attention to Haydn, but I’ve always been fascinated by his music’s ability to engage, surprise and poke fun at the listener – no other composer manages to do that in quite the same way.

Paul Lewis Paul Lewis.

Haydn clearly influenced Beethoven who clearly influenced Brahms, but what other connections might you hope to bring out in your recital programme for Melbourne?

My original thought was to play a Haydn-only series, but then I got thinking about the connections and contrasts between his music and other composers. It strikes me that Brahms is in many ways opposite to Haydn – I don’t detect any humour in Brahms at all, for instance! There’s deep seriousness in Brahms of course, as there is also in Haydn, but none of the fooling around that Haydn loves to engage in....

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