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Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 6 "le Matin" & 82 "l'ours"; Violin Concerto

Haydn / Handel & Haydn Society / Christophers
Release Date: 09/10/2013 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16113   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Aisslinn Nosky
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel & Haydn Society
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HAYDN Symphonies: No. 6, “Le matin”; No. 82, “The Bear.” Violin Concerto in G , Hob. VIIa/4 Harry Christophers, cond; Aisslinn Nosky (vn); Handel and Haydn Society CORO 16113 (69:19) Live: Boston 2/22 & 24/2013

Harry Christophers has been artistic director of the Handel and Haydn Society since 2009. These period-instrument performances use a surprisingly Read more large ensemble in the early “Le matin” Symphony. The orchestra roster lists strings as 7/7/4/4/2, and it sounds as if most of them are playing. Boston’s Symphony Hall gives the strings a warm embrace in these live performances; this New Yorker envies the audience’s total silence. A large-hall ambience makes itself felt in the music’s quietest moments but is not intrusive. The performance can best be described as natural: There is no hint of any agenda, of any personality other than Haydn’s. Tempos match my ideas of each movement’s markings; the second movement’s opening and closing Adagio s slow and weighty, well contrasted with the central Andante , which sounds almost lively by comparison. Solo passages—flute and violin—are superbly played, with appropriate flourish. All repeats are taken (with little if any variation), including those in Menuets da capo . If this sounds a bit dull, the performance is anything but. This is as satisfying a period-instrument “Le matin” as I have heard.

The G-Major is called Haydn’s Fourth Violin Concerto, but it may be his earliest; it has a comparatively simple solo part, accompanied by strings. Aisslinn Nosky is the Handel and Haydn Society concertmaster, as well as a noted chamber musician and soloist. Her clean, pure playing is lovely, never suggesting virtuosity per se . Her cadenzas are long-lined, with only the smoothest double stops. A most fitting performance, but it cannot raise much interest in the Concerto.

In contrast to the performance of the early Symphony, Christophers injects “The Bear” with loads of personality. The Vivace assai is explosive, as the score demands, but Symphony Hall’s long reverberation time muffles the hard-hit timpani and blurs the dotted string figurations. The Allegretto is pushed and pulled a bit, with slightly spread chords, emphasizing a sweet, rustic character. No boundaries of taste are crossed, and the result is charming. The same is true in the Trio of the Menuet. Christophers shows a welcome freedom from the limiting strictures so often applied to period performance practice by pulling back a bit for codas. The final Vivace races along, roaring with high spirits, but the acoustics again give as well as take; the whole is gorgeous, but the cello and bass drone—so suggestive of a lumbering bear—is softened enough to vitiate that suggestion.

A most welcome disc. Do find a place for it on your Haydn shelf.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 6 in D major, H 1 no 6 "Le Matin" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel & Haydn Society
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1761; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 22 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin no 4 in G major, H 7a no 4 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Aisslinn Nosky (Violin)
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel & Haydn Society
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1769; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 17 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Symphony no 82 in C major, H 1 no 82 "The Bear" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel & Haydn Society
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, USA 
Length: 27 Minutes 10 Secs. 

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