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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as or better than the rest...
Well, I have to disagree with the sour 2 star review below. These recordings of the London Symphonies are almost faultless. They are spirited, warm, intelligent, witty, dramatic and superbly played by the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The recording sounds great, too. This Haydn puts a big smile on your face; as Haydn should. I am not alone in my opinion as these recordings...
Published on 16 April 2001 by leefaire@hotmail.com

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Minority Report
Reader, meetings of the Australian Knappertsbusch Association could be likened to the Night of the Short Toothpicks: humanity has rarely been so debased and depraved. Under the circumstances, it is appropriate that Australia's Cultural Attaché to the Court of St James - Sir Les Patterson - has condemned the AKA for its debauchery and racial stereotyping...
Published 1 month ago by Bernard Michael O'Hanlon


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as or better than the rest..., 16 April 2001
This review is from: Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 (Audio CD)
Well, I have to disagree with the sour 2 star review below. These recordings of the London Symphonies are almost faultless. They are spirited, warm, intelligent, witty, dramatic and superbly played by the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The recording sounds great, too. This Haydn puts a big smile on your face; as Haydn should. I am not alone in my opinion as these recordings are widely recommended. I own and enjoy the below mentioned Jochum and Bernstein, too. I would lean in favour of Davis' recordings because they possess an extra measure of sparkle, zest and humanity, and the playing of the Concertgebouw is peerless - very musical. You are unlikely to tire of these recordings.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haydn the way it ought to be played, 20 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 (Audio CD)
I love these symphonies - their warmth, wit, humour and humanity, within a carefully structured classical framework. To me Colin Davis' set brings this out better than anyone else except the vintage recording of Beecham (and of course the sound is better). Moreover it is at mid price. Personally I don't find that period instruments add anything over modern ones - there are losses as well as gains. Obviously a matter of taste, though I wonder which Haydn would have used if he had been alive today and able to choose?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely music at a very attractive price, 6 April 2010
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R. Scriven "Rob" (London England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 (Audio CD)
A lovely rendition of Haydn's London Symphony's.
You should buy with Volume 2, to complete the set.
It may not have the caché of having period instruments, but the recording is very nicely played by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and conducted with a certain light and pleasing (to my ear any way) manner by Colin Davis.
At the price you can't go wrong. Buy it. If you really like it, look for a another recording later.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol. 1, 28 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 (Audio CD)
A great orchestra with superb interpretations of each of these symphonies under the baton of Sir Colin Davies. It is not just the popular, nick-named symphonies which receive great performances; rather it is a double-CD package of brilliance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Haydn......, 14 May 2013
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P. J. Hillier - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 (Audio CD)
We had not often listened to Haydn, but had liked that that we had heard. So when it came to the thorny Decision what I should give my Wife as a Hochzeitgeschenk I thought I'd surprise her, we both liked the Recording a great Deal.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Minority Report, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 (Audio CD)
Reader, meetings of the Australian Knappertsbusch Association could be likened to the Night of the Short Toothpicks: humanity has rarely been so debased and depraved. Under the circumstances, it is appropriate that Australia's Cultural Attaché to the Court of St James - Sir Les Patterson - has condemned the AKA for its debauchery and racial stereotyping. Nevertheless, these gatherings continue to be a source of enlightenment (which offsets the zinc depletion and cirrhosis of the liver). Recently the Chief Procurement Officer suggested to the President (that's me) that Sir Colin Davis was a much better conductor of opera and choral works than symphonies. Upon reflection, this is a bullseye. After all, who can endure his pedestrian Beethoven (Staatkapelle Dresden), his late Mozart symphonies with the same orchestra or that Schubert cycle with whomever (good lord)? Tell me, oh tell me true that he did not record Schumann! His London-based Bruckner- against all odds - has featured in Black Masses. Perhaps an exception can be made for his Berlioz or Sibelius; Karajan & Kamu in hand, I've never been tempted to chase down the latter. As the rule goes, if the latter-day Gramophone panegyrises it - welcome to the Inner Station - that's reason in itself to avoid it like the pox.

That leaves his Haydn which has been universally celebrated since the day of its release. As augurs would have noted at the time, it was recorded at Fort Haitink which is minatory in itself . . . . . . Wait on - who's that distinguished looking gentleman with the chrome-dome? What's he doing here? What does he want? Should I call security?

Look, if you like thoughtful, polite, lively, energetic, civil, spruce, poetic, well-proportioned, urbane, understandable, witty, suave, songful, respectful, carbon-neutral and cogent Haydn, played by a slimmed-down virtuoso orchestra, there is none better than Davis. Nor does he stress the listener with bothersome metaphysics. Yep, this cycle comes with the imprimatur of Bernard Haitink. To my mind, that's the downfall of this set: it's praiseworthy AND boring - what a herculean feat!

Where is the vision? Where is the ecstasy (in contrast to playing fast merely for the sake of it)? Where is the danger? Where are the imperatives to change one's life or viewpoint? Where is my old mate the Devil or his celestial counterpart?

The nasty, anachronistic and perverse vices of Herbie (full fat Haydn: The "Paris" & "London" Symphonies) and Lenny (full fat Haydn: 12 London, & 6 Paris Symphonies / Die Schopfung / 4 Masses) are intrinsically more interesting than Davis' virtues. Yes, their Minuets can be stately and imperious. Nevertheless they touch upon extremities and seismically so whereas Davis remains comfortably within the bounds of polite society. Compare the coda of the Military's first movement across the triumvirate: both Lenny and Herbie evoke divine madness whereas Davis channels the Haitink-within and modestly so. Other instances are legion.

For the past two decades plus I have spasmodically attempted to like this `burgomaster' cycle. This is my last attempt. Given the brevity of life, ave atque vale.
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11 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but perhaps safe. No period instruments!, 3 April 2002
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D. Martland "davidmartland" (Guildford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 (Audio CD)
These CDs have been much praised, particularly in the UK. Some of the symphonies are also available on a Philips 50 disc, which claims to be remastered - certainly sounds no worse, but better? - maybe not.
The performances are reasonably well recorded, and musically put together, but perhaps rather safe.
Dorati's performances are available on 2CD sets from Decca at the same price as the Philips, though there is also a Penguin CD, which must be poor value in comparison.
Some other recordings are also worth consideration - for example Szell on Sony, which are very good, while for much more life I would suggest investigating period instrument performances.
Bruggen's are now being issued in the same Philips Duo series which makes them competitive - though the much more expensive box set is still available.
Nicolas Harnoncourt has trodden a path between period and conventional performances, so that even when he records with a full symphony orchestra his style is strongly influenced by influences from the period instrument movement.
He has recorded Haydn symphonies with the same orchestra as Davis - the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (Teldec or Ultima), and also with the Vienna Concentus Musicus (Das Alte Werke), and his performances could certainly be worth investigating.
Other conductors of period style orchestras include Sigiswald Kuijken and Christopher Hogwood.
For individual performances at least their performances may exhibit even more life than Bruggen's, though some may find that the sound puts them off.
You get used to it - and the results are very worthwhile. Although I would rather hear an excellent performance on a full symphony orchestra than a poor performance on a period orchestra, I would generally rather hear a good performance on a period orchestra - and many of such performances which are available are excellent.
Throw out the stodge and give period performances a try.
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10 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the sound of complacency, 22 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 (Audio CD)
Beautiful, manicured sounds that trot along at "sensible" speeds and add up to...not very much. Jochum, Bernstein and Woldike have all made late Haydn a living, vibrant experience. Look elsewhere.
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Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1
Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol.1 by Joseph Haydn (Audio CD - 1994)
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