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Haydn: Symphonies No 73, 74, 75 / Roy Goodman, Hanover Band


Release Date: 12/10/2002 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55121   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Roy Goodman
Conductor:  Roy Goodman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hanover Band
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

With rare exceptions, Haydn's symphonies numbered in the 60s and 70s have been conspicuously neglected both on disc and in the concert hall. So it is good that the Hanover Band usher in their complete cycle with these three works dating from around 1780, when Haydn was primarily absorbed in opera. And there is a direct theatrical connection with the most familiar of the symphonies here, No. 73, whose rumbustious 'hunting' finale began life as the overture to Haydn's comic opera La fedelta premiata. Fine as No. 73 is, especially its brilliant, tautly argued first movement, No. 75, likewise in D major, is still finer. The opening movement, prefaced by Haydn's most searching slow introduction to date, marries the nervous, sinewy energy Read more characteristic of Haydn's earlier music with a new breadth, power and harmonic tension. Small wonder that Mozart copied down the opening of this Presto and halfremembered it a few years later in the Don Giovanni Overture. The Adagio is an instrumentally resourceful set of variations on a grave, hymnlike melody, and the close-knit rondo finale tempers its wit and élan with a vein of lyrical tenderness, constantly drawing strength from Haydn's supreme, lightly worn contrapuntal mastery. I'm sorry, though, that Goodman, adopting a policy he intends to pursue throughout the series, plays the original version of the symphony, without trumpets and drums: the climax of the first movement, particularly, gains an enhanced splendour from the trumpet fanfares Haydn later added to the score. (The finale of No. 73 is similarly bereft of trumpets and timpani.) The other work on this disc, No, 74, is perhaps the least compelling of the three, with a distinctly workaday finale, Haydn on automatic pilot; the Adagio cantabile, though, has a quirky charm and the urbane first movement an especially imaginative development, culminating in an extended sequence of soft, slow-moving chords that opens up new and strange vistas.

Roy Goodman and the Hanover Band have recently been in the spotlight for their Schubert cycle on Nimbus; and here, switching to Hyperion, they launch their Haydn series in some style. All the now familiar virtues of periodinstrument bands are present: buoyant, precise string articulation, generally translucent textures and piquant woodwind detail, especially from the flute (played with delectable point throughout) and the valveless horns, who rasp splendidly in the finale of La chasse. Vibrato, is, of course, applied with restraint, though the strings (numbering, I would guess, around 15) have a smoother, more rounded sonority than some other period groups (including the Vienna Akademie on a rival version of No. 73 for Novalis/ASV). And the violins are, properly, divided left and right. Tempos in the faster movements are cannily chosen, never unduly hectic. The opening movement of No. 75, for instance, though amply spirited, has an appropriate touch of gravitas, while for the initial Vivace of No. 74 Goodman finds the ideal tempo to embrace both the leisured elegance of the opening paragraphs and the bustling energy of the tuttis.

In the accompanying booklet Goodman stresses that he has reassessed the speed of Andante and the minuet movements in the light of early nineteenth-century metronome markings. Well, as with Beethoven's metronome indications, it can be dangerous to take these too literally; and I was glad that Goodman's speed for the 'walking' Andante of No. 73 is not so sprightly as to preclude sympathetic shaping of detail, and that the minuets Of No. 74 (crisply done, with a nicely puffy bassoon in the trio) and No. 75 (aptly pornposo in feel) have poise as well as vivacity. The one tempo which may startle is the minuet of No. 73, which emerges as a fleet waltz, though after the initial shock I was rather beguiled by this deft, light-footed performance (the opening bars, incidentally, are played piano rather than the usual forte). But if this is Allegretto what, I wondered, would Goodman make of The Surprise Symphony's Allegro molto minuet? On the alternative recording listed above Martin HaselbOck, using a very small body of strings, offers a more restrained view of both the minuet and the finale, the latter given in the version with trumpets and drums; but though I enjoyed much of his performance, I was irritated by a number of little interpretive quirks, especially in the first movement.

In sum, these are vital, engaging performances from the Hanover Band, stronger at times on vigour than expressive subtlety but intelligently shaped, with the stature of No. 75, in particular, impressively realized. Unlike Hogwood, who eschews keyboard continuo in his recently initiated Haydn cycle on L'Oiseau Lyre (12/90), Goodman directs from the harpsichord and adopts a strongly interventionist role (far more so than HaselbOck in No. 73). The doubling of harpsichord and solo cello creates an ear-tickling guitar effect at the start of No. 74's Adagio; but at the risk of provoking an avalanche of dissent I must say I found the harpsichord over-active both in tuttis, where it tends to draw undue attention to Haydn's repeated bass lines, and in quieter music such as the opening of No. 75's finale, with its refined, quartet textures. The recording has a fine presence and bloom, and does justice to the orchestra's wide dynamic range, though it is a shade more reverberant than 1 find ideal. The playing time, as usual with Hyperion, is generous (all possible repeats observed in each symphony) and the documentation good, though the dates given for Haydn charitably extend his life by a couple of years.

-- Gramophone [3/1991]
reviewing the original release of this title, Hyperion 66520
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 73 in D major, H 1 no 73 "La Chasse" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Roy Goodman (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Roy Goodman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hanover Band
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Length: 22 Minutes 7 Secs. 
2. Symphony no 74 in E flat major, H 1 no 74 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Roy Goodman (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Roy Goodman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hanover Band
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1781; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Length: 24 Minutes 3 Secs. 
3. Symphony no 75 in D major, H 1 no 75 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Roy Goodman (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Roy Goodman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hanover Band
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1781; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Length: 22 Minutes 51 Secs. 

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