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Haydn: Symphonies No 57, 67, 68 / McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque

Haydn / Mcgegan / Philharmonia Baroque Orch
Release Date: 02/10/2015 
Label:  Philharmonia Baroque (Label)   Catalog #: 8   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A few years ago Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra released a glorious disc containing Haydn symphonies Nos. 88, 101 and 104. Well, they’ve done it again, and their achievement is even more impressive in that this time they have chosen three relatively unknown, middle-period symphonies. None have nicknames, and few get played in modern concerts. I did see Leonard Slatkin–a champion of little-known Haydn–give a superb performance of No. 67, but other than that you’ll be lucky to hear any of these symphonies live.

This doesn’t mean that the music lacks anything in the way of interest. No. 67 is one of Haydn’s most original creations, with a slow movement that features a delicious coda played by the strings
Read more “col legno” (with the back of the bow), a trio of the minuet for two muted solo violins–one of them retuned–and a finale with a central “development” that starts as a string trio in an adagio tempo. It’s an amazing piece, and this performance relishes every striking detail.

Symphony No. 57 starts with a surprisingly unsettling slow introduction whose eerie grace notes return, purged of their unease, in the fleet main theme of the finale. No. 68 places the minuet second because the slow movement is probably the longest that Haydn ever wrote. It lasts more than twelve minutes in this performance (fourteen under Harnoncourt), but it’s so full of variety that the time passes without a thought. The finale is a “variation” rondo whose episodes constitute a veritable concerto for orchestra.

In short, each symphony has something special and characteristic to offer, and each gives McGegan and his ensemble an opportunity to display their individual and corporate musicianship and virtuosity. The strings play with precision and warmth. McGegan clearly knows when to sound “authentic,” and when to let his players sing. The solo winds and horns are excellent, ensemble balances invariably what they ought to be to let each work communicate vividly. The live sonics, a touch close and maybe very slightly edgy, actually suit the boldness and panache of the music. Haydn lovers rejoice.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 57 in C major, H 1 no 57 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1774; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Venue:  Live  First Congregational Church, Berkeley, C 
Length: 26 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 67 in F major, H 1 no 67 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1779; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Venue:  Live  First Congregational Church, Berkeley, C 
Length: 23 Minutes 35 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 68 in B flat major, H 1 no 68 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1779; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Length: 27 Minutes 15 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 The Defence Rests October 3, 2015 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "Though these three Haydn symphonies never had cute publisher’s nicknames to make them stand out in the crowd, they are anything but slight works, but rather are three superb examples of Haydn’s middle period. The invention of the melodies, the striking details of orchestration, the shifting moods and unexpected modulations: everything points to a composer just coming to the peak of his powers. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have written the above sentences before I heard this new Nicholas McGegan CD with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. I’ve heard these works often in the past, in very good versions, and didn’t sit up and take notice the way I did now. There’s a sparkle and verve to the playing, but also a seriousness, a sense that this music really *matters*, that McGegan manages to communicate to his players, and to us. Haydn’s reputation has been hurt by the perception that he’s a light-weight compared with Bach, Mozart or Handel, but in my books Haydn is an equal partner in what Kenneth Clark called ‘the harmonious flow and complex symmetries” of the best 18th century music. This CD is an outstanding piece of evidence in support of this view." Report Abuse
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