Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have no fear - Sir Colin has not lost his touch with Haydn., 1 July 2014
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This review is from: Haydn: Symphonies 92, 93, 97, 98 & 99 (Audio CD)
I was a little bit nervous as I popped the first cd of this set into my player. Could the conductor who pretty much set the bar of Haydn symphony performance rise above the standard he had set himself? Sir Colin Davis's recordings for Phillips with the Concertgebouw Orchestra have been, for many years, the recordings that all others are judged by.

Sir Colin himself was a much older man than the one who made those priceless recordings and I was concerned that increased gravitas would have shackled his Haydn somewhat. Whilst this no doubt reaps dividends in Bruckner, the earlier composer needs so much more. There is, perhaps, a little loss of sparkle in the fast music and the twinkle in the eye has dimmed a little but there is no doubt the enormous affection that comes across in the phrasing of the slow music. It's simply breathtaking. That, for me, more than compensates for there being a shade less spring in the step.

I do wonder if today's LSO are a match for the Concertgebouw Orchestra in those classic discs. Although the orchestra play wonderfully there is, IMHO, a slight feeling of the first violins only being 99.95% on top of the notes as the music in the 'slow' movements gets more and more complex. Haydn is one of the greatest challenges for an orchestral violin section and any hesitation does show.

According to the notes, the symphonies were recorded between May 2010 and December 2011 and the sound is quite consistent although no. 97 in C sounds a little boxy compared with the others. (Probably the Barbican's notoriously dry acoustic to blame here). There is more bloom on the sound than has been noted from this sourced in the past. Unhelpfully, there's no information on the size of orchestra used here and the list of players give no clue since not all musicians would have been playing in each performance. (9 oboe players are listed!) There is an occasional outburst from a harpsichord.

These are superb performances and I wonder what else the LSO are sitting on in their vaults.

Recommended with all enthusiasm.
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom

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