This is one of the best Haydn symphony recordings I have ever heard. The performances are outstanding, with a keen sense of fidelity to the published score, and a superb recording which is not only brilliant in the forte passages but exceptionally beautiful in the hushed piano sections, which seem to be a Glover speciality. Sample the beginning of No. 101 and you will at once hear what I mean. At a very reasonable price, the CD is a bargain – it might even make gramophone history.
-- HC Robbins Landon, BBC Music Magazine
HAYDN Symphonies: No. 101 in D, “The Clock”; No.Read more 103 in E?, “Drum Roll” • Jane Glover, cond; Royal PO • ROYAL PHILHARMONIC 28490 (57:37)
The hype on the back cover of this CD is unbelievable: “PREPARE YOURSELF TO EXPERIENCE MUSIC MAKING OF THE HIGHEST LEVEL, BEAUTIFULLY RECORDED WITH SUPERB ENGINEERING [Good: I dislike performances beautifully recorded with lousy engineering] AND PERFORMED WITH A RARELY HEARD ABANDON THAT WILL EXCITE AND THRILL YOU OVER AND OVER AGAIN. (The label’s caps; what ever happened to British reticence?)
The good news is that it’s all true: this is an extraordinarily fine Haydn disc. We are given no information about the performing forces, but it sounds like a medium-sized modern orchestra using period horns and trumpets. Woodwinds are strong and clear, with an outstanding flutist and strong bassoons; the clarinets in No. 103 are very mellow. Whatever the instruments, there is strong evidence of period practice, or at least lessons learned from it. Attacks are sharp, rhythms crisp; tempos range from consensus to slightly faster; Menuets are stately but never slow. Strings do not employ the whiplash precision of a Toscanini or Abbado; violins in the “Clock” Andante play with great delicacy. Glover takes most repeats, but not the fourth or seventh (of eight) in the “Drum Roll” slow movement, nor does she play those in Menuets da capo. The playing is vibrant throughout. Glover has redeemed “The Clock” from the routine into which countless performances had sold it, and the brassy syncopations of the E? Symphony’s Allegro con spirito have never been more beautifully realized. She doesn’t make much of the wrong-harmony joke in “The Clock”’s Menuet, so one has to listen for it.
The recorded sound is as advertised: everything shines, especially the brass. Strings are sweet without being cloying, winds are perfectly clear. For perhaps the first time, one can hear every note in every part, which makes listening with the scores more of a joy than ever. Hickox’s “Drum Roll” sounds lazy by comparison, its period-instrument band less incisive and less colorful than the Royal Philharmonic. The sound on this disc even makes Chandos’s lovely recording seem weak and congested. Rereading that hype, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Magnificent RecordingJune 22, 2015By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"This Royal Philharmonic Masterworks recording explores no new ground, as both the 101st and 103rd Symphonies of Joseph Haydn have been recorded many times, and there are plenty of first class performances available. So why consider this disk? The answer to this question lies in the ultra-high quality playing of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Jane Glover. Here one can truly experience the biting tick-tock rhythms in the Andante second movement of the 101st ('Clock'). As for the 103rd ('Drumroll'), it's been a long time since I've heard this symphony open on such a strikingly sinister note with the timpani and the subsequent orchestral growl, after which the score morphs into a joyous, effervescent musical journey of the highest caliber. The RPO really seems at home with these Haydn orchestral gems, which of course are integral components of Haydn's 'London' symphonies, the last 12 he composed. The performance is world class and the technical quality of the CD is audiophile all the way, which should be sufficient to make this RPM disk self-recommending. Even if you own other recordings of these Haydn symphonies, I'm sure you'll love these fine performances. Highly recommended."Report Abuse
Delightful Haydn PerformancesMay 27, 2014By Gail M. (Goleta, CA)See All My Reviews"This is a great Haydn disk! These performances are lively, with the right tempos, balance, and precision. Excellent transparent sound. As good or better than other fine recordigs of late Haydn which I enjoy and have received critical acclaim."Report Abuse