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Haydn: The Complete Symphonies [Box set]

Joseph Haydn , Adam Fischer , Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: £51.10 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Haydn: The Complete Symphonies + Haydn: Complete Piano Trios + Haydn: Complete String Quartets
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra
  • Conductor: Adam Fischer
  • Composer: Joseph Haydn
  • Audio CD (15 April 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 33
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B0000666AF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,400 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Symphonies "A" & "B" en si bémol majeur - Symphonies n° 1 à n° 104 - Sinfonia concertante pour violon, violoncelle, hautb., basson & orch., Op. 84) / Orchestre Haydn Austro-Hongrois, dir. Adam Fischer

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Cycle 24 Mar 2008
This really is an extraordinary achievement from Adam Fischer and his hand-picked orchestra. The London Symphonies were recorded first and, as other reviewers have noted, there are greater interpretations available.

However, the first 80 symphonies are so brilliantly played that that should not put you off in any way. I own many versions of the symphonies, including the ground-breaking complete set from Antal Dorati (plus other versions from Davis, Pinnock, Kuijken and Harnoncourt) and this cycle is unsurpassed - and a terrific bargain to boot.

Fischer's interpretation brings the earlier symphonies to vivid life in a way that Dorati sadly doesn't. So buy this cycle, and perhaps Kuijken for the Paris symphonies (another bargain) and Davis for the London symphonies.

This is music enough for a lifetime!
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent set 26 Aug 2004
By A Customer
The only reason to lose one star is that there are better performances around of the London symphonies. The great triumph in this set is the brilliant and lively performances of the middle 75 symphonies.
That makes the set cost about a pound per symphony, which is a real bargain. However, you may want to transfer the discs from the card sleeves to proper jewel cases, which will add a bit to the cost.
Recording quality is good modern digital.
Anyone buying this box will not regret it. Many hours of enjoyment. This music is written to entertain and interest the listener, and it always does. There is not a single dud symphony by Haydn.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You can buy far better! 26 Nov 2006
I'm sure that this review won't make any difference - loads of people will buy this, because it's comprehensive and cheap - but there are reasons why you should go elsewhere. The most important point is that Fischer messes with Haydn's music in almost every symphony, by making certain passages solo strings only. (How do I know this? I'm a Haydn anorak, and I know all the symphonies off by heart. Not a bad thing to be.) Haydn did like the sound of solo strings, but he says when he wants them. They're all over the place here. That wouldn't matter so much, except that whilst the sound of the orchestra as a whole is fine - clean, with little vibrato - the solo strings are syrupy and sentimental. As a result, many of Haydn's most sublime moments are turned into salon music. This is a serious point: nobody would get away with doing this to Beethoven, so why accept 'Haydn with custard'?

Apart from this, the performances are not bad - symphonies 1-12 are best, with all repeats, whereas Fischer ignores second-half repeats in the later works. Dorati, surprisingly, is better repeats-wise.

If you are interested in buying Haydn in better performances, try Harnoncourt (various ones, including the last 12) or Hogwood (nearly all). Or above all, Bruggen really makes the music speak (he has recorded the 'Sturm und Drang', 'Paris' and 'London' sets), who also offers us the original version of the Finale of No. 103 ('Drumroll'), which is far better than the truncated Vienna version that everyone else plays. And don't touch Beecham, who makes cuts in what were already corrupt texts.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Colin Fortune VINE VOICE
In a way I am glad that the very best interpretations in this set are the later recordings and are of many little known symphonies - those in the 30's for example. You would be hard-pressed to find recordings of these symphonies in any case, and it is a delight that they are so well presented by Fisher and his band. The London Symphonies were among the first to be recorded and the acoustic is a little "swimmy" in comparison with later recordings. Also, the style of performance developed over the years: the London set having rather stately minuets wheras the later recording favour more the so-called "original instrument" approach whilst being on modern instruments exceedingly well played by the orchestra.

Haydn's reputation as the father of the symphony - and he certainly is the precursor to Mozart and Beethoven, having known both of them - is well deserved and much of his music is simply NOT PLAYED today. Well,here is your chance to get 104 symphonies for well under £1 each. Don't turn it down!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for value 7 Oct 2004
By A Customer
I largely agree with the foregoing review, except that at the price at which this set can be found it is worth the full five stars.
This is wonderful music, very well and affectionately played - a labour of love!
Haydn seems for some reason to be an unpopular composer, but just about every disc here contains music to delight the ear and gladden the heart, and they can be found elsewhere at less than half this price: don't hesitate; a treasure-chest and an absolute bargain.
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