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Haydn: London Symphonies, The Seasons / Beecham


Release Date: 01/14/2014 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 846032   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Elsie MorisonAlexander YoungMichael Langdon
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic OrchestraBeecham Choral Society
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The performances in this box constitute the highest achievement of Thomas Beecham with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Though his many EMI/Columbia recordings of the standard and not so standard repertoire were among the finest of their time, Beecham's Haydn was and remains special. All Beecham's best qualities are in his Haydn -- suave phrasing, smooth shaping, an unerring sense of drama, and an innate feeling for the lyrical line, plus something more: a sense of kinship with the composer.

Born to money and supremely talented, Beecham naturally understood himself to be on a more or less equal footing with the composers whose music he conducted, but he appeared almost to identify with the Austrian classical master. In the
Read more London symphonies, Beecham leads performances suffused with character, wit, and invention, performances that constantly surprise but always fulfill, performances altogether individualistic but absolutely right in tone and temper, performances, in sum, very much like both the composer and the conductor. Of course, this wouldn't be possible without the Royal Philharmonic, which plays for Beecham with its accustomed crisp attack and polished virtuosity, and responds quickly and gracefully to his every command.

Great as his Haydn symphonies are, Beecham's account of his oratorio The Seasons is even better. With soprano Elsie Morison, tenor Alexander Young, bass Michael Langdon, the Royal Philharmonic and the eponymously named Beecham Choral Society, Beecham creates a performance with the immense scale and enormous scope the subject requires, and the exalted fusion of idealistic humanism and pantheistic spirituality the treatment demands. Recorded in resplendent stereo between 1956 and 1958, the performances in this box constitute the essential element of any Beecham or Haydn collection. Try "Then breaks the glorious day at last," the final double chorus from The Seasons. If that doesn't do it, nothing will.

-- James Leonard, AllMusic.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 93 in D major, H 1 no 93 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
2.
Symphony no 94 in G major, H 1 no 94 "Surprise" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
3.
Symphony no 95 in C minor, H 1 no 95 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
4.
Symphony no 96 in D major, H 1 no 96 "Miracle" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
5.
Symphony no 97 in C major, H 1 no 97 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1792; London, England 
6.
Symphony no 98 in B flat major, H 1 no 98 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1792; London, England 
7.
Symphony no 99 in E flat major, H 1 no 99 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Symphony no 100 in G major, H 1 no 100 "Military" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793-1794; London, England 
9.
Symphony no 101 in D major, H 1 no 101 "Clock" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793-1794; London, England 
10.
Symphony no 102 in B flat major, H 1 no 102 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794; London, England 
11.
Symphony no 103 in E flat major, H 1 no 103 "Drumroll" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 
12.
Symphony no 104 in D major, H 1 no 104 "London" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 
13.
The Seasons, H 21 no 3 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Elsie Morison (Soprano), Alexander Young (Tenor), Michael Langdon (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799-1801; Vienna, Austria 
Language: English 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Why Beecham was Great May 16, 2017 By Donald Mintz (Trumansburg, NY) See All My Reviews "Beecham was disdainful of musicology in all its forms. He had no interest in critical editions. His articulations in these works are often—no, usually—at odds with authentic sources. But they are nevertheless frequently idiomatic, partly because poor editions are not all bad and mostly, I think, because Beecham's sheer and incredible musicality led him to defensible conclusions. Not, alas, in matters of tempo. The slow movements are dreadfully slow amd take some getting used to. Nevertheless and despite all these caveats, the performances are in many respects revelatory. Listen, for instance, to the softly breathed, genty correcting B-flat V7 at the end of the intro to the 99th symphony. The orchestra has loudly proclaimed the dominant of C minor, Gs heavily pounded out. But that's wrong. We need V7 of E-flat, and this is what the soft chord provides. Anyone can get this right in principle. But it seems to have taken Beecham to breathe a significance into it that others have missed. The recording is early stereo and very fine for its time; in most respects it still stands up. (Note: I have not yet listened to The Seasons which is sung in English.)" Report Abuse
 An Old Friend Returns April 8, 2014 By David H Cooper (Rio Rancho, NM) See All My Reviews "When a teen I was first introduced to these performances on lp. They were a revelation then and gave me many happy hours of listening. Now, years later, after much more listening to early instrument performances, and the Dorati complete set, this Beecham traversal seems quite different. I can now appreciate it wayward interpretation for a version lost in the mists of time. The playing and singing are devoted and precise. For its time it was the version to have. Now it is A version to own and enjoy." Report Abuse
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