Notes and Editorial Reviews
Aided by the trim, alert playing of his Montreal orchestra, Dutoit's first recorded foray into Haydn is often strikingly successful. As with Hugh Wolff (Teldec), his manner in the fast flanking movements tends to be brisk and muscular, with direct, ungilded phrasing and strong, propulsive rhythms. I particularly enjoyed the taut, fiery outer movements of No. 82, with trumpets and C alto horns pealing thrillingly through the texture, and Dutoit's lithe, athletic way with the first and last movements of No. 84 (woodwind detail characteristically prompt and deftly observed). In the opening Vivace of No. 85, Marie Antoinette's favourite (hence the nickname), Dutoit gives by some way the swiftest performance, all nerve and sinew: the high
adrenalin count does much to compensate for a loss in grace and ancien regime elegance.
In most of Haydn's slow (often not so slow) movements Dutoit is a shrewd judge of tempo and mood. He gives crisp readings of the Allegrettos in Nos. 82 and 85, the former sprightly and dapper, the latter refreshingly cool and direct. I like, too, the spacious tempos for the Andante of No. 83 and the Adagio of No. 87, which are both tenderly, graciously shaped, with much delicate woodwind detail—though I'd have preferred a smoother line from the first oboe in his solos in No. 87. Against this, the astonishing, highly charged Capriccio in No. 86 is too swift and matter-of-fact for my taste, insufficiently responsive to the implications of Haydn's chromatic harmonies. Conversely, the exquisite theme and variations in No. 84 is in principle unrealistically slow, with six long beats to the bar, underlining the music's dance associations; but Dutoit's reading has such poise, such grave intensity of line that my initial misgivings were quickly dispelled. As to the minuets, Dutoit tends to be traditional, with sturdy, measured tempos; and if that in No. 83 sounds a shade dogged, those of Nos. 82 and 86 have a real strength and symphonic grandeur.
-- Richard Wigmore, Gramophone [6/1993]
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