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on 16 April 2001
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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on 20 May 2002
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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on 9 June 2015
Haydn creates an enormous feling of joy throught all hs music,partiulary in his symphonies. The early symphonies are still not as well known as they should be, and the ones in the forties to the seventies, though often played and recorded, are less appreciated than the London group.
The present disc's are a wonderful two and a half hours of listening, orchestral playing is exemplary and the ambience of the Cocergebouw hall adds greatly to the overall pleasure. Davis had an intuitive undestanding of Haydn's sound world which is bourn out by his consistancy in all six symphonies,as are tempos and phrase lengths.
Davis drives outer movements with appropriate tension' but without harhness and never fails to convey the zest and sense of fun the music demands.Slow movements are treated with due dillegence but without mockishness or sentimentallity. In many performances by other conductors( some famous names;) their efforts are unermined by taking the Minuet third movents either too fast too galumty( my word!) ,or too slow.Davis gets all six exactly in the 'Goldilocks'range, whereby the music bounds with life enhansing thrust . All in all tnis issue together with vol2 represents not only the best recordings off the London symphonies but one of most joyous recorbings of music ever made.
My advice tothe reader,or potential buyer is do what i did, pour yourself a goodly dram put this record in the slot,sit back in the quiet and have your life enriched!
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Why is it that I'm happy to own multiple recordings of Beethoven's, Brahms', and Mozart's major works but that I don't feel the need to have as much Haydn? As I cull my CD collection to make room for new purchases, I'm finding that I can readily give up the recordings of Haydn's twelve "London" symphonies by Jochum and Szell and be content to keep Colin Davis's two Philips Duo sets. There's nothing wrong with the performances by Jochum (DGG) and Szell (CBS/Sony), but I don't find their differences from Davis's -- which seem to me minor -- makes up for the superiority in sound on the Philips discs. Davis brings plenty of energy to his accounts, but the sound is warmer and overall more transparent in what it enables us to hear of solo instruments and the different sections of the orchestra. These recordings are from the late 1970s-early 1980's, with the later ones being digital. The analogue recordings are fine, though. Jochum's accounts are 8-10 years earlier, and their sound can be a bit bright or glaring in the loud, high writing, while Szell's 1960's recordings are drier in sound and a bit more homogenous. I stress, though, that neither Jochum's nor Szell's sound is terrible, and I wouldn't be without Szell in Beethoven and Brahms or Jochum in Beethoven and Bruckner. It's just that I feel that I don't need all that Haydn.

I like historically-informed performances, and I own the Veritas set of the six Paris symphonies of Haydn, with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, in nice digital sound, conducted by Kuijken. Haydn's fertility of invention never ceases to delight me, but somehow I don't feel the need of a lot of different points of view on it.
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on 6 April 2010
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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on 13 October 2014
I wont profess to be a classicist. Like a good glass of beer I know what I like and I like both this cd being vol 1 and I also like vol 2.

I am not a listener who either falls into the "the big band" recordings school or the back to basics school of thought who like their classical music played on period instruments although I have to say I find some of the recordings played on period instruments to be a little thin. So I presume these recordings by Sir Colin Davis fall into the "big band" category. But I really enjoy them because they are to my untutored ears relatively bright and breezy when they should be and the sound throughout is beautifully crisp and clean. Some might say these symphonies dont make too much demands on the listener but for me whether I play vol 1 or 2 they are just perfect for a relaxing Sunday morning. And what makes them especially attractive is that you get so many symphonies at an incredible price.
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on 28 December 2013
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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on 14 May 2013
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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on 10 March 2016
These symphonies are simply stunning and despite the age of the recording sound extremely fresh.
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on 5 March 2016
Highly recommended. Sir Colin cannot be bettered. Buy both sets
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