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George Szell conducts Haydn Symphonies


Release Date: 01/01/2014 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 68779   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It says something about Haydn’s aesthetic vision that the best performances of his symphonies, by and large, have all been on modern instruments, whether Szell and Cleveland, Bernstein with various orchestras, Mackerras and St. Lukes, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra–even Klemperer or Scherchen. The qualities his music requires–rhythmic snap, propulsive energy, the long singing line, a sense of humor, a clear feeling for formal resolution in the face of continual surprise–remain utterly independent of dogmatic approaches to performance style. You take each work as it comes, and make the most of it.

Finally, Sony has gathered up and released all of Szell’s Haydn symphony recordings in a box. The six early London symphonies are
Read more well-known, but the rest, including Nos. 88, 92 “Oxford”, 99, and 104?London” haven’t received nearly as much attention. Nos. 88 and 104 are in well-preserved mono, and you get both recordings of No. 97. The performances are incomparable. Szell was a natural Haydn conductor: witty, razor sharp, colorful, and highly contrasted. The obscene bassoon fart (that’s what it is) in the slow movement of No. 93 has never been matched; wind parts cut through the texture beautifully; trumpets and drums never sound timid or flabby.

Szell has the strings playing with immaculate rhythm, perfect intonation, and just the right amount of warmth in the slow movements. This is, in fact, an object lesson not in correct “period” style, but in the correct Haydn style. Even in Symphony No. 98, a work that for some reason befuddles even Haydn specialists (Bernstein notably), Szell doesn’t miss a trick. The Mozartian slow movement is especially lovely. He also uses the Landon editions of the scores wherever possible—one of the first major conductors to do so. The result is a landmark in the Haydn discovery, and a cornerstone of any serious Haydn symphony collection.

-– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 92 in G major, H 1 no 92 "Oxford" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
2.
Symphony no 96 in D major, H 1 no 96 "Miracle" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
3.
Symphony no 99 in E flat major, H 1 no 99 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1957 
4.
Symphony no 98 in B flat major, H 1 no 98 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1792; London, England 
5.
Symphony no 95 in C minor, H 1 no 95 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
6.
Symphony no 93 in D major, H 1 no 93 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
7.
Symphony no 94 in G major, H 1 no 94 "Surprise" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; London, England 
8.
Symphony no 97 in C major, H 1 no 97 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1792; London, England 
Date of Recording: 1957 
9.
Symphony no 88 in G major, H 1 no 88 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1787 ; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
10.
Symphony no 104 in D major, H 1 no 104 "London" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; London, England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  14 Customer Reviews )
 Still first-rate performances March 8, 2016 By Michael Ryan (Essex, ON) See All My Reviews "A great many years ago I was present at a live performance with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. These recordings bring back great memories of that demanding conductor. If you love Haydn then you will truly appreciate these symphonies conducted by maestro Szell." Report Abuse
 Nostalgic remembrance of Szell in Haydn March 1, 2016 By Bernard A J. (Kansas City, MO) See All My Reviews "For the money, these Sony series can't be beat. It was good to hear the Haydn symphonies once again by Szell. It is a pared down Cleveland Orchestra and not a modern performance by any means but just enjoy Haydn and Szell." Report Abuse
 George Szell and Hadyn - what a pair! August 1, 2015 By Stephanie J. H. (Manchester, NJ) See All My Reviews "Haydn wrote so many symphonies, and yet some stand out in some people's minds, and these are particular favorites of mine. Who better to curl up with than Mr. Szell and his incomparable Clevelanders! You will love these!!!" Report Abuse
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