Notes and Editorial Reviews
If you love classical music you'd have to be insane not to be thrilled at the prospect of this year's commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death: there's just so much great music to enjoy. Take this release. Does anyone really know or care about Symphony No. 57? Well, you should. First of all, it's a large piece, some 30 minutes with repeats observed. Second, as played here, with Haydn's original timpani part restored, it's sensationally exciting. The articulation of the strings in the prestissimo finale has to be heard to be believed--but then every movement reveals Haydn's inspiration operating at typically high voltage.
Both the "Fire" Symphony and No. 65 also
feature virtuoso finales, with brilliant horn writing that Thomas Fey's players obviously relish. But the slow movements also delight (and never drag), and Fey's use of the harpsichord continuo, a habit that has no basis in historical fact and sounds just plain vile most of the time, is a model for how it should be done. He generally restricts the instrument to tutti passages (which of course renders its participation even more pointless) or touches in an important bass line, but never turns what ought to be a discreet accompaniment into a concertante extravaganza.
Generally speaking the playing is so astoundingly exciting that even this caveat matters not a whit. You will come away from these performances simply astounded by the richness and vitality of Haydn's inexhaustible powers of invention, which is exactly as it should be. Buy this brilliantly engineered disc, savor it, and look forward to the next installment.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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