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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding and sympathetically bracing set of Haydn symphonies, 11 Dec 2012
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Symphonies No. 41-47, 50-52, 64-65, 82-90 (Audio CD)
These discs of the complete Haydn symphony recordings made by Bruno Weil were unfortunately not extended to include the London symphonies. This is a great pity as these performances practically leap off the discs and make so many other seem dull. They have the additional advantage of having H. C. Robbins Landon as the musicological and artistic consultant.

The recordings themselves were always excellently balanced and truthful tonally, but in their newly remastered state they have been further improved with a little more depth of field added. Unfortunately along with this slight advantage has come a presentation that is totally minimalist without sleeve notes and with discs in paper sleeves within the box. The price however is astonishingly low so perhaps one should be realistic about this - lost of high quality playing time and performances at a low price. Historical details are readily available on the internet and can easily be printed off if there is a need.

Bruno Weil seems to have an innate awareness of just how to make Haydn's symphonies spring into life. In this he is helped by the considerable talents of the Tafelmusik orchestra and the wonderfully clear and 'present' qualities of the recording.

The earlier symphonies in the box are often known as the Sturm und Drang symphonies as a result of their increased dramatic content. This is fully realised by the members of the orchestra not least Ab Koster who performs the stratospheric horn parts with such assurance and thrilling tone. Tempi are kept on the move but never to the point of hurry or rush. They are not metronomic either so there is always the feeling of enough 'give and take.' Minuets are played briskly throughout. Textures are clarified but never with the abrasiveness found on earlier discs of period music made elsewhere.

There are fine alternative performances by Pinnock to consider of these early symphonies. Pinnock takes a generally more dramatic view and is just as well played and recorded. However this set being considered here offers much more music and a broader coverage therefore.

The later set of the Paris symphonies follows the same pattern but on a generally broader scale as is appropriate. Individual descriptions of all of these works seems unnecessary as they all follow the same stylistic interpretive points as already outlined above.

Since these recordings were made there has been a much lauded set of the Paris symphonies by Harnoncourt. However those are somewhat hybrid performances as regards period sound as Harnoncourt mixes authentic 'natural' brass with otherwise modern instruments. This is becoming a popular option these days and may be a way of bridging the textural and instrumental gap between the period and the modern orchestras. However, there really is no proper comparison to be made between those excellent performances and these being considered here as they inhabit such different sound worlds.

In summary, I would suggest that these period performances stand out as being excellent examples of the period type of performance and as such they give us a real and exciting insight into Haydn's orchestral world. The box set offers remarkable value even if not supported by more than minimal printed information unlike the original single discs.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of life, 31 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Symphonies No. 41-47, 50-52, 64-65, 82-90 (Audio CD)
These are brilliant, vivacious performances, quite the best of these symphonies I have heard.
88,89,90 outclass the Rattle BPO performances, which sound comparatively heavy and stiff. The string sound is warm and satisfying.
50 to 52 have more freedom than the Naxos alternative.
One of the best sets of the Paris Symphonies.
A very real bargain
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5.0 out of 5 stars A symphony a day for three weeks, 26 May 2014
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This review is from: Symphonies No. 41-47, 50-52, 64-65, 82-90 (Audio CD)
21 symphonies, 7 CDs, almost one fifth of Haydn's symphonic output, and over seven hours of superbly played and well recorded music. There are three discs of Sturm und Drang era symphonies, and the complete Paris symphonies, plus a handful of others.

Haydn collectors who already have recordings of the Paris symphonies may prefer Pinnock's box set of Sturm und Drang symphonies but this box set offers a wider variety of Haydn's work and and is a much better bargain. Of rival versions of these works, the only ones I'm familiar with are Kuijken's Paris symphonies - Weil and Kuijken both have their strengths though Weil has marginally better recorded sound.

The Canadian ensemble Tafelmusik recorded many superb CDs for Sony's Vivarte level in the '90s with Jeanne Lamon directing them in the baroque, Bruno Weil conducting Mozart and Haydn, and many of these have been re-released by Sony in bargain boxes. Like the other boxes this set has no booklet notes but is highly recommendable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Haydn, 18 April 2014
By 
Mr. Raymond L. Hall "TareeDawg" (Taree, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Symphonies No. 41-47, 50-52, 64-65, 82-90 (Audio CD)
Vibrant performances, particularly of the Sturm und Drang symphonies. Tafelmusik sound full-bodied for a smallish original instruments band, and the recording is excellent. Cannot go past these recordings, and although Weil is brisk-ish he certainly allows the music to take shape. Highly recommended.
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Symphonies No. 41-47, 50-52, 64-65, 82-90
Symphonies No. 41-47, 50-52, 64-65, 82-90 by Joseph Haydn (Audio CD - 2012)
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