This is one of the best Haydn symphony recordings I have ever heard. The performances are outstanding, with a keen sense of fidelity to the published score, and a superb recording which is not only brilliant in the forte passages but exceptionally beautiful in the hushed piano sections, which seem to be a Glover speciality. Sample the beginning of No. 101 and you will at once hear what I mean. At a very reasonable price, the CD is a bargain – it might even make gramophone history.
-- HC Robbins Landon, BBC Music Magazine
------------ HAYDN Symphonies: No. 101 in D, “The Clock”; No.Read more 103 in E?, “Drum Roll” • Jane Glover, cond; Royal PO • ROYAL PHILHARMONIC 28490 (57:37)
The hype on the back cover of this CD is unbelievable: “PREPARE YOURSELF TO EXPERIENCE MUSIC MAKING OF THE HIGHEST LEVEL, BEAUTIFULLY RECORDED WITH SUPERB ENGINEERING [Good: I dislike performances beautifully recorded with lousy engineering] AND PERFORMED WITH A RARELY HEARD ABANDON THAT WILL EXCITE AND THRILL YOU OVER AND OVER AGAIN. (The label’s caps; what ever happened to British reticence?)
The good news is that it’s all true: this is an extraordinarily fine Haydn disc. We are given no information about the performing forces, but it sounds like a medium-sized modern orchestra using period horns and trumpets. Woodwinds are strong and clear, with an outstanding flutist and strong bassoons; the clarinets in No. 103 are very mellow. Whatever the instruments, there is strong evidence of period practice, or at least lessons learned from it. Attacks are sharp, rhythms crisp; tempos range from consensus to slightly faster; Menuets are stately but never slow. Strings do not employ the whiplash precision of a Toscanini or Abbado; violins in the “Clock” Andante play with great delicacy. Glover takes most repeats, but not the fourth or seventh (of eight) in the “Drum Roll” slow movement, nor does she play those in Menuets da capo. The playing is vibrant throughout. Glover has redeemed “The Clock” from the routine into which countless performances had sold it, and the brassy syncopations of the E? Symphony’s Allegro con spirito have never been more beautifully realized. She doesn’t make much of the wrong-harmony joke in “The Clock”’s Menuet, so one has to listen for it.
The recorded sound is as advertised: everything shines, especially the brass. Strings are sweet without being cloying, winds are perfectly clear. For perhaps the first time, one can hear every note in every part, which makes listening with the scores more of a joy than ever. Hickox’s “Drum Roll” sounds lazy by comparison, its period-instrument band less incisive and less colorful than the Royal Philharmonic. The sound on this disc even makes Chandos’s lovely recording seem weak and congested. Rereading that hype, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Conventional But Enjoyable HaydnMarch 9, 2013By Anthony S. (St. Petersburg, FL)See All My Reviews"I purchased this CD based on the enthusiastic Arkiv notes, and also to have contrasting interpretations to my Beecham and Toscanini performances. I cut my teeth on Beecham's Haydn in the early days of the LP and I've never had a reason to change my opinion that he is that master's "default" interpreter. Glover, whose conducting was unknown to me prior to this recording, leads the RPO in a proper yet unsurprising account of both symphonies. Her tempi are moderate and correct; the RPO plays as one would expect - beautifully. The recording is clear and well balanced, the inner voices coming through at appropriate times. There are no negatives in either performance, nor are there any chances taken which might have elevated them above their many competitors, save for the clarity and presence of the recorded sound. So I would recommend this CD to someone not totally familiar with late Haydn as a clear, comfortably paced, well played, nicely recorded but not terribly exciting rendition of both works."Report Abuse
Lilting HaydnMarch 7, 2013By John Harutunian (Newtonville, MA)See All My Reviews"These are warm, lilting performances -with especially beautiful woodwind tone and phrasing. My first choice remains Neville Marriner -his reading of No. 103 in particular seems infallibly right. And of course, if one wants to get into the pre-stereo era there's always Toscanini's for No. 101. (Not his tight, rather driven NBC recording of 1947, but the one taken from his single 1945 appearance with the New York Philharmonic. A very powerful performance -and a great reminder [in quite respectable sound] of what the New York Philharmonic was like when he presided at this helm from 1926-1936.)"Report Abuse