Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilarating experience and an outstanding achievement. Not for the faint-hearted though
This well recorded set of the six Paris symphonies made by Harnoncourt in 2001-2 takes a typically refreshing and thought provoking new look at familiar repertoire. This is a development from his earlier successful set of the London symphonies where he used a modern instrument orchestra but with natural brass. This helped to add bite to the brass sound while not...
Published on 21 Nov. 2012 by I. Giles

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Look elsewhere for your Paris symphonies.
I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this set. I wanted to love it, but suspected something was up when I was longing for the 4th movement of "The Bear" to actually get around to finishing.What was going on? What had gone wrong?

My first experience of Harnoncourt with Haydn was his recordings of Symphonies 31, 59 & 73 (some exhilarating...
Published 1 month ago by Castello


Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilarating experience and an outstanding achievement. Not for the faint-hearted though, 21 Nov. 2012
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Haydn: Paris Symphonies (Audio CD)
This well recorded set of the six Paris symphonies made by Harnoncourt in 2001-2 takes a typically refreshing and thought provoking new look at familiar repertoire. This is a development from his earlier successful set of the London symphonies where he used a modern instrument orchestra but with natural brass. This helped to add bite to the brass sound while not overwhelming the rest of the orchestra. The new set goes the whole way by using a complete period orchestra.

For those who are still concerned about the use of such an orchestra compromising the listening enjoyment it needs to be stressed that great advances have been made over the last twenty years or so. Gone are the tuning problems mostly associated with the technical problems of playing the woodwind instruments. Also gone is the frequently acerbic string tone. A period orchestra such as the one on this disc offers perfectly acceptable string tone.

The main advantage of a period orchestra is that the important balances between the sections of the orchestra are radically altered with a much more even balance achieved between the strings and woodwind especially. This enables important musical dialogue between the sections to be heard much more easily as the composer intended.

Also gone are is the early tendency of conductors to be simply 'beat merchants' with a preference for fast tempo applied to everything. Now we get conductors doing what they should do and that is to direct some sort of insight into the music being performed. In other words, be interactive and give an interpretation.

Interact is certainly what Harnoncourt does. In general terms what we experience in these recordings are performances of great vigour which demand attention of the listener. This is achieved by making the most of dynamic markings throughout. Gentility is not at a premium here and any idea that Haydn was now writing calmer music as he grew older is robustly challenged. Curiously the minuets and trios are less extreme than one might suppose. Tempi here are generally moderate within the context of period performances. Slow movements are kept on the move but without becoming hurried or pressurised. The outer movements are the most dramatically aware or driven, enough to enliven but not enough to startle.

These performances created rather a critical storm when they were first released with descriptions suggesting that they were so assertive and ground breaking that no performance would be able to ignore them in the future. Now, ten years further on, the performances still retain the power to shock and to demand attention.

These are not gentle or safe performances. 'Papa' Haydn is very much alive and kicking here and I, for one, have loved their fresh and enthusiastic dramatic approach. For those who wish to live dangerously this will be a marvellous experience. The recording is equally 'live' and perfectly matches the concept. Recommended for all but the faint-hearted.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Look elsewhere for your Paris symphonies., 10 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Haydn: Paris Symphonies (Audio CD)
I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this set. I wanted to love it, but suspected something was up when I was longing for the 4th movement of "The Bear" to actually get around to finishing.What was going on? What had gone wrong?

My first experience of Harnoncourt with Haydn was his recordings of Symphonies 31, 59 & 73 (some exhilarating first-choice efforts there) and also the Symphonies 6-8 set, which are the first choice also in my opinion. Get these. So I came to this recording of the Paris Symphonies with high hopes, but I`m afraid this set is a bit of a struggle. This is played like proto-Beethoven, which it is not. Grand gestures and bombast do not work here. Much like they can with Beethoven, these attitudes can be a turn off and lead to disinterest. As can seemingly endless repeats which make the experience difficult to enjoy. What makes this repetition worse is that the overall shape of each movement is hard to discern - it gets lost somehow. Perhaps it is over-interpretation. On the plus side there are some moments of real excitement, but that is to be expected - this conductor and orchestra are a quality combination - but they got it wrong on this occasion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest Haydn Symphony sets ever recorded., 13 July 2009
By 
Colin Fortune (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haydn: Paris Symphonies (Audio CD)
This set is a remarkable achievement. Every one of the symphonies emerges as "grand" music for an aristocratic audience - and indeed the Loge Olympique, who played the music for the highest strata of French society were are very large band of gentlemen, clad in sky-blue silk and each carrying a sword!

Harnoncourt gives them the wholly appropriate scale in an authentic sound world with all the tempi just right and the inner detail superbly presented. In the large outer movement all repeats are taken (i.e. both halves) and this explains the three disc format with two symphonies to a disc. At the current price this is a great bargain for this is truly one of the best sets of Haydn symphonies on disc.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Harnoncourt, 2 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Haydn: Paris Symphonies (Audio CD)
Typical Harnoncourt performances if you know what that means but he plays every single repeat
even some I didnt know existed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Haydn or Harnoncourt?, 27 Aug. 2009
By 
Mr. R. Waud "raywaud" (Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haydn: Paris Symphonies (Audio CD)
I have always been a Haydn enthusiast and have a number of recordings of these 6 symphonies. Normally, I quite like Harnoncourt's approach to Haydn and have most of his recordings. However, I feel that these performances are a step too far with their exaggerated pauses, slowings down, speedings up, and last but not least the perverse use of dynamics in explosive tuttis. All these problems, to my mind, hold up the flow of the music, and are exacerbated by the fact that Harnoncourt takes all the repeats. Should you require recordings of Harnoncourt with a smidgin of Haydn then these CDs are for you. If you want recordings of Haydn's "Paris Symphonies", avoid them like the plague! Incidentally, there is another unfavourable review on Amazon France with which I totally agree.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too weird, too perverse, not recommended, 4 May 2014
This review is from: Haydn: Paris Symphonies (Audio CD)
I came to this recording with high expectations. Harnoncourt's recordings of some of the earlier symphonies (30, 53, 69, 31, 59, 73) have for over twenty years been among the jewels of my CD collection.

But Harnoncourt is one of those geniuses like Furtwängler or Klemperer, who can produce sublime results in one performance, and then in another performance do such weird and perverse things as to completely ruin the music.

In these Paris Symphonies Harnoncourt has unfortunately slipped into his 'weird and perverse' mode. His approach seems to me to be blusteringly wrong-headed. He has always produced a distinctive sound in the brass, but here that distinctive sound is carried to extremes, so that the brass bray aggressively, joylessly, charmlessly, and remind me of nothing so much as one of those sculptures of fierce and grimacing demons in Tibetan Buddhism.

Harnoncourt does not let the music flow - he imposes too much detail on the performance, with unneccessary emphases and pauses and perverse phrasing. There is no joy to be had from such a performance, where the interpreter stands constantly in the way of, and constantly undermines, the music. No - this will not do - I am disappointed to write such a negative review of a conductor I otherwise admire hugely - if you want to hear these symphonies done in a manner which brings out their true character in full, without any funny business, turn to Dorati's joyful, life-enhancing recordings.

To hear Harnoncourt at his best, I would recommend the six Haydn symphonies I mention above, plus his recording of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, his second recording of the Brandenburg Concertos (perfectly sublime music-making), his Mendelssohn 3rd and 4th symphonies, his Schubert symphony cycle, his Coronation of Poppea and his glorious 2003 New Year's Day concert in Vienna.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Madness in Paris, 15 Mar. 2012
By 
This review is from: Haydn: Paris Symphonies (Audio CD)
"Father, I've done . . . . questionable things," so says Roy when he meets Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner. I wonder whether Harnoncourt will make the same comment when he meets his Maker. Exhibit number one: this recording.

Three hours of Paris symphonies is too much of a good thing. Repeat after repeat after repeat after repeat. Looks ominous, doesn't it? It is a licence to go mad. Nor is the journey made any easier by the usual Harnoncourt-isms: the repudiation of charm, gruff accents and wilful pacing.

Much like Karajan towards the end of his career, Harnoncourt is by now such a known quantity, it would be feasible to create a virtual Harnoncourt to make recordings of this mettle until the end of time. It's the Karajan Soup v the Harnoncourt Muesli Bar.

On the credit side, the orchestra plays with panache. There is plenty of adrenalin on offer but it's insufficient to avert torpor as one repeat follows another, endlessly, ad infinitum, unceasingly - terminating in a zen-like state of nullification.

I'm a Metternich in music. Defiantly, I advocate Herbie Haydn: 6 "Paris" Symphonies or Lenny if you must Haydn: Paris Symphonies, Nos. 82-87 (The Royal Edition No. 33). If period-practice is an imperative, the Kuijken recordings lay strong claim - and nor will steam be pouring out of your ears as you listen on Haydn: Paris Symphonies 82-87
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WYHWG, 24 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Haydn: Paris Symphonies (Audio CD)
5x* - I agree, as well as I agree with the 2x*-rewiev with b e c a u s e of the dynamic interpretation "with their exaggerated pauses, slowings down, speedings up, and last but not least the perverse use of dynamics in explosive tuttis". But sureley, this is not about "autenticity" or a belief that our ears actually can hear what was produced som 200+ years ago?! Isn't it about interpretation and the ability of racking our brains; in this, the recording excels; skip the chronology for a while - here we have Beethoven as well as a sprinkle of Schubert and touches those inimitable folk-music accents accentuated in a way of interpretation at least I believe would have smiled at. This is what Haydn, or his position right at the moment the Paris symphonies were written, or isn't it? What you hear is what you get - great interpretations that at no point whatsoever are bland or un-engaging, and definetly not something for back-ground, casual listening. "Electrifying" might come close.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Haydn: Paris Symphonies
Haydn: Paris Symphonies by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Audio CD - 2005)
Click for more info
Not in stock; order now and we'll deliver when available
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews