This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Unlike Colin Davis' Concertgebouw "London" Symphonies, also on Philips Duo, Frans Brüggen's Haydn performances were recorded live. Disc 1 opens with a splendidly severe account of Symphony No. 95 in C minor. Excellent engineering and antiphonally seated violins give great clarity to strands of contrapuntal writing in the first movement and in the finale's fugal sections, and the elegant cello solo in Variation II of the Andante is particularly delightful. Brüggen's treatment of the unison, baroque-overture-style adagio preface to Symphony No. 98 could be the subject of a detailed study on its own, with such a diversity of attack, articulation, and dynamics packed into so few
measures. It's also remarkable how urgently Brüggen propels the unremitting tension of the main allegro that follows. The finale, with expertly played violin solos and dazzling trumpet fanfares at the end, also includes the obbligato keyboard part played on a fortepiano rather than the harpsichord (as in most other versions, including Davis').
Another joy of Brüggen's Haydn is the great care he takes over the choice of instruments, especially the percussion used to reproduce the "Janissary" effects of the "Military" Symphony No. 100. The thwack of calf-skin-headed bass drum (and timpani throughout this series), the tinny, un-resonant cymbal, and the comical triangle in the Allegretto provide a better impression of what these instruments probably sounded like in Haydn's day than you'll hear on any other recording. Symphony No. 101 ("The Clock") is brilliantly done, with plenty of surprises in the andante that gives the work its nickname and a finale that's served up with dazzling verve and accuracy, despite Brüggen's very fast tempo.
Symphonies Nos. 96 ("Miracle") and 104 ("London") again receive performances of astonishing bravura--not that Davis' recordings with the Concertgebouw lack anything at all in technical excellence. But in Haydn, much ingenious part-writing isn't heard when first and second violins are seated together, and Brüggen's natural trumpets, hand-horns, and period winds all help to bring the amazing inventiveness of Haydn's music fully to life. If you can afford to, get both Brüggen and Davis, and you'll have the very finest of all available options. [3/10/2002]
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 95 in C minor, H 1 no 95 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra of the 18th Century
Written: 1791; London, England
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