Notes and Editorial Reviews
More Haydn from Thomas Fey is always a treat, and this disc is no exception. Almost all of Haydn's symphonies, even the really obscure ones, have something that places them beyond the ordinary: examples are No. 50s grand first movement and brilliant scoring for trumpets and timpani, or No. 40s concluding fugue (Haydn truly was a master contrapuntist, though he's not known for it today). The all but unknown No. 34 opens with a glorious adagio in D minor nearly as long as the rest of the symphony. The big item here, though, is Symphony No. 39, which provided the inspiration for Mozart's rather less interesting "little G minor" Symphony No. 25, with which (aside from the home key) it shares interesting scoring for four horns pitched
as contrasting pairs.
Given his "period approach," we expect Fey's Haydn to be swift and punchy, and so it is (although he gives full weight to No. 34's slow first movement). Indeed, if I have anything to criticize here it's the fact that he takes some of the opening movements too swiftly, not giving the pauses in No. 39's first movement (for example) sufficient time to register the necessary foreboding. On the other hand, you might just say "the hell with it" and enjoy the brilliant playing of the Heidelberg Symphony, the bite of the horns and woodwinds, and Fey's determination to wring every last drop of excitement from even the most outwardly commonplace passages. Either way, this excellently recorded disc is certainly well worth hearing and in some respects remains in a class of its own compared to other versions of the same works, period style or no.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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