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Haydn: Violin Concerto, Symphonies No 49 & 80 / Gottfried Von Der Goltz, Freiburger Barockorchester

Release Date: 11/10/2009 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 2962029   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Gottfried Von der Goltz
Conductor:  Gottfried Von der Goltz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HAYDN Symphonies: No. 80; No. 49, “La passione.” Violin Concerto No. 1 Gottfried von der Goltz (vn, cond); Freiburg Baroque O (period instruments) HARMONIA MUNDI 2962029 (69:19)

The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is one of the finest period ensembles, especially notable for its recordings under René Jacobs. This disc demonstrates that it can be equally superb led from the first desk by violinist von der Goltz. Strings are 4/4/3/3/2. The D-Minor Read more Symphony No. 80’s Allegro spiritoso is aggressive and potent, at a crackling tempo, with only a slight letup for a chirping second subject from the rich, plummy oboes. The Adagio is aching rather than tender. The entire performance is appropriately tense and tight, recalling Haydn’s Sturm und Drang of 15 years earlier. This is a superb rendering of a very individual minor-key symphony, but the tension is so continuously high that it can make for exhausting listening. Not every moment in Haydn’s music is sweetness, and joy; the humor of those oboe chirps and of the odd horn-led Trio must be imagined more than heard.

One might think the early (1765), charming C-Major Violin Concerto would be a relaxing interlude between two of Haydn’s darkest symphonies, but it too receives a slow, heavy performance—beautifully played by both the soloist and his ensemble, but with little sign of wit or gaiety. Even the final Presto is forceful, almost bleak. This and its other recent period recording (in the 150-CD “Haydn Edition”— Fanfare 32:4) are very serious, whereas two less sonorous modern-instrument groups are involved in spirited, sparkling performances—on Naxos (32:1) and on Nimbus MP3 discs. Each has something to offer, but the solution for Haydn’s violin concertos may be found on an Alba SACD reviewed elsewhere.

With “La passione” (1768), we reach the height of Haydn’s Sturm und Drang ; another tight, tense performance suits the music—all four movements are in a minor key. The Symphony’s F-Minor solemnity has seldom seemed so sorrowful, so grave, not only in the long opening Adagio but also in the Allegro di molto, Menuet, and Presto that follow.

Harmonia Mundi’s production is (almost) top notch, beginning with a startlingly realistic recording. A beautifully printed 36-page booklet contains interesting notes in French, German, and English; it also has fine color photos of the restored palaces at Eisenstadt and Esterházy, plus a colored etching of Eisenstadt in 1650. The back sheet, however, crosses the keys and titles of the two symphonies and misspells the conductor’s name; the booklet and (I hope) this headnote—get them right. This disc is a magnificent representation of Haydn’s seldom emphasized serious side.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 49 in F minor, H 1 no 49 "La Passione" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Gottfried Von der Goltz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1768; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Symphony no 80 in D minor, H 1 no 80 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Gottfried Von der Goltz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Concerto for Violin no 1 in C major, H 7a no 1 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Gottfried Von der Goltz (Violin)
Conductor:  Gottfried Von der Goltz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1769; Eszterhazá, Hungary 

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