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Haydn: The London Symphonies / Franz Brüggen


Release Date: 03/27/2009 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 442788   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These are all outstanding accounts, but Symphony No. 102 in B-flat (quite possibly Haydn's greatest) is especially well done, and not even Davis' Concertgebouw performance has greater drama and fire.

Brüggen's performances with the Orchestra of the 18th Century were recorded live in Utrecht and Nijmegen (Netherlands) between 1986 and 1992, so the recordings emanate exclusively from digital masters. If you're worried about audience noise (often a distraction in recordings of public concerts) don't be, for it's clear that Brüggen's listeners were completely galvanized by what they heard (you'll understand why when you listen to any of these accounts!) and they remain respectfully attentive throughout. Sound
Read more engineering also is very fine, not that either of the venues used here possesses the distinctive bloom of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, a definite plus in the Colin Davis Haydn series. Brüggen's band uses period instruments, which make their unique voices heard both generally and in many special moments: sample the calf-skinned drum heads at the start of No. 103 "Drumroll" (Brüggen lets his timpanist have free reign here, so the roll is much more prolonged, impressively so, than usual), or the highly individual bassoons, clarinets, and horns elsewhere in this symphony, or in the trio of No. 99's adagio.

Concomitant with all this go Brüggen's racy tempos. The finales are taken very fast indeed, and the antiphonal division of first and second violins enables Haydn's brilliantly inventive contrapuntal exchanges to register powerfully--for instance, in the last movement of No. 93. Brüggen's scholarship brings rewards, too. Take for example the sublimely beautiful adagio of Symphony No. 97, a set of variations that's eloquently presented here. But mid-way through come 43 measures in which the strings are directed to play "sul ponticello" ("on the bridge"), producing an icy tone quality that sounds almost ghostly in its effect when gut strings are employed, as here. Only scores and parts used by Haydn during his first London visit actually included this performance direction, and Brüggen recreates it stunningly.

These are all outstanding accounts, but Symphony No. 102 in B-flat (quite possibly Haydn's greatest) is especially well done, and not even Davis' Concertgebouw performance has greater drama and fire. Orchestral playing under Brüggen always is thrilling and highly eventful, and although these performances are sometimes less refined and precise than the Harmonia Mundi recordings by Sigiswald Kuijken and La Petite Bande, they're consistently more exciting and spontaneous. Highly recommended.

--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 93 in D major, H 1 no 93 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
2.
Symphony no 94 in G major, H 1 no 94 "Surprise" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
3.
Symphony no 95 in C minor, H 1 no 95 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
4.
Symphony no 96 in D major, H 1 no 96 "Miracle" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
5.
Symphony no 97 in C major, H 1 no 97 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1792; London, England 
6.
Symphony no 98 in B flat major, H 1 no 98 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1792; London, England 
7.
Symphony no 99 in E flat major, H 1 no 99 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Symphony no 100 in G major, H 1 no 100 "Military" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793-1794; London, England 
9.
Symphony no 101 in D major, H 1 no 101 "Clock" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793-1794; London, England 
10.
Symphony no 102 in B flat major, H 1 no 102 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794; London, England 
11.
Symphony no 103 in E flat major, H 1 no 103 "Drumroll" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 
12.
Symphony no 104 in D major, H 1 no 104 "London" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 

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