Customer Reviews for: George Szell conducts Haydn Symphonies

15 Reviews in Total
5 Star: 12 Reviews
4 Star: 2 Reviews
3 Star: 1 Review
2 Star: 0 Reviews
1 Star: 0 Reviews

Average Review

4.5 Stars (15 Reviews)

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 Wonderful Haydn July 15, 2017
By Bill C. (Wendouree, Australia) -- See All My Reviews
We often forget wow tuneful Haydn was as a composer.These lovely recordings bring it all back. Report Abuse

 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

 The recordings to have December 19, 2014
By Morris Reagan (Madison, MS) -- See All My Reviews
Szell's performances of Symphonies 93 through 98 (from Haydn's first stay in England) are the first recordings ever made using Haydn's original orchestration--the "enrichments" added by 19th century editors have been removed. As a result, Haydn's own leaner orchestration, plus the string quartet-like playing, the hallmark of Szell's Cleveland Orchestra, brings a transparency to these performances to be heard in no other recordings. The inner voices and countermelodies are clearly heard here, whereas in most other recordings they're pretty much lost except as they contribute to the harmony. These recordings of the first set of the London symphonies (93-98) were made toward the end of Szell's career. It's my guess that Szell would have also recorded the second set (99-104) had he lived to do so. (This set also includes Haydn's Nos. 88, 92 and 104, but they were made earlier in Szell's career and don't have the advantage of Haydn's original orchestration. Unfortunately, this album comes with no liner notes, though the dates and venues of the recording sessions are given. The other information I've provided was obtained from other sources. Report Abuse

 Szell's Haydn Excels December 2, 2014
By owen  ryan (lakewood, CA) -- See All My Reviews
George Szell is firmly ensconsed in the Pantheon of the 20th Century's Great Conductors. He was a terrifying, abusive and insulting tyrant on the podium. As Michael Charry, his Asst. Director, diplomatically stated ''his talent and abilities were so great that it could be intimidating, challenging and was not easy.'' Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra's talents are evident in this collection. The Penguin Guide states ''Superb polish in the playing and precise phrasing. Haydn's music obviously struck a deep chord in Szell's sensibility and there is humanity underlying the technical perfection. His perfectionist approach is a dedicated and affectionate one.'' I have the initial CD release of most of these symphonies and these new 24 bit remasterings are far superior. Great music and great sound at $3- per disc. You can't go wrong on this deal! Report Abuse

 Almost, but not, the best. November 24, 2014
By K. BAKER (HEBER CITY, UT) -- See All My Reviews
Back in the 1960s, a noted music critic put it thusly: "He (Szell) built his own orchestra. He built the best." Another critic got more to the point: 'With Szell and the CSO, you hear the white spaces between the notes'. What we have here is, as with any Szell /CSO recording, the finest orchestral playing ever recorded. The skill of the CSO is unmatched by any other orchestra before or since. And Szell is no mean interpreter of the classics. Even today, many Szell/CSO recordings set the standard (most notably Dvorak's Slavonic Dances & R Strauss' Death & Transfiguration, but don't skip any Szell CSO Beethoven). But the topic here is Haydn. Szell's Haydn is almost as good as it gets, but there is better, most notably the incomparable partial set of the London Symphonies by Mogens Woldike (and good luck trying to find a copy of these superb performances). Next to Woldike, I'd go for Jochum on DGG. Then its a toss up between Szell & Dorati & Fisher & Beecham & Goodman & Fey. Everything considered, with the exception of Woldike, go for the least expensive of the above mentioned recordings and you will be happy. Report Abuse

 at last -Szell and Haydn November 12, 2014
By Roger K Graham (Moorestown, NJ) -- See All My Reviews
Been waiting for years to replace my LPs of Szell/Cleveland Orchestra of late Haydn symponies, and it is a great set! My audio is not world-class, but it sounds great to me, and the interpretations of controlled joy in the clever writing cpme through well. Report Abuse

 ditto 5 stars November 11, 2014
By n. evans (Farmington, NM) -- See All My Reviews
I agree with the 5 star reviewers. Great music making. Receommend to those new to Haydn (like me). I would guess those who know Haydn by heart would also like these receordings. Report Abuse

 No booklet November 11, 2014
By Lee S. (Fort Lauderdale, FL) -- See All My Reviews
As a collector, I was excited about this boxed set of Szell's historic Haydn performances with the Cleveland Orchestra. I was very disappointed that Sony packaged a box set without any booklet; only the four discs. The disc sleeves are marked with the original date of the recordings and basic credits. But for a major label to distribute a boxed set without a substantial booklet seems rather cheap. I'll think twice before buying another boxed set from Sony. Report Abuse

 Patrician Performances November 11, 2014
By Mark S. (Fort Mill, SC) -- See All My Reviews
Szell certainly had a way with Haydn. Witty, energetic, exact yet warm. These are patrician performances with his Cleveland players at the height of their powers. Report Abuse

 HAYDN - MY NEW OBSESSION November 5, 2013
By H. Ghartey (Callicoon, NY) -- See All My Reviews

 Szell as usual, and "usual" means superb August 29, 2013
By Gregory W. (Hinckley, OH) -- See All My Reviews
A reviewer once said the Cleveland Orchestra was "the best Beethoven-Haydn orchestra in the country." Here's proof. Szell continues to offer a well-considered and judicious reading of these pieces but not in a detached or meditative manner. These symphonies are crackling with energy. A definitive collection. Report Abuse

 An essential set July 21, 2012
By Robert Baker (Albuquerque, NM) -- See All My Reviews
George Szell is my idea of the greatest conductor who ever lived. He had a way of bringing out the inner voices in pieces that are often obscured by conductors who concentrate on developing the main line. His core repertoire was almost all the great German/Austrian composers of the classical and romantic eras, plus Dvorak, Sibelius, and Tchaikovsky. He also had a long association with a few moderns--Prokofiev and Dutilleux, most notably. Many of those whose admiration for Szell is not quite as great as mine will, nevertheless put him near the top of great Haydn/Mozart conductors. This set of Haydn symphonies of one of the essentials, along with the Kuijken recordings of the Symphonies 82-104 and the Dorati set of all the Haydn symphonies. Get those three sets, and you will have all the Haydn symphonies that any non-specialist would want before acquiring at least 2,000 other CDs. This set is also a useful corrective to the usual bromide that Szell lacked a sense of humor. The way he handles that obscene, dissonant bassoon note near the end of the 2nd movement of Symphony # 93 will lay that canard to rest! Report Abuse

 Bracing Haydn from Szell and the Clevelanders December 16, 2011
By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) -- See All My Reviews
One of the greatest misconceptions about George Szell is that, while he was able to drill orchestras into incomparable playing, his interpretations were metronomic and lacked imagination. What a load of tosh. Szell characterization of Haydn's symphonies belies the notion of him as a cold-hearted autocrat. Note the bassoon "raspberry" in the slow movement of Symphony No. 93, or his handling of the "surprise" in Symphony No. 94 (for once, it sounds startling). Szell may not indulge in aimless rubato or allow his strings to exude syrupy vibrato, but there are many subtleties to be heard for those willing to listen. Szell undoubtedly viewed the Haydn symphonies (at least the later ones) as anticipating Beethoven, and these performances have more thrust and drive than was usually heard at the time. Still, Szell remains within the Classical style: Menuets are played as such and not as Scherzos - in contrast with Toscanini. Needless to say, the playing of the Cleveland Orchestra is peerless, not merely from the standpoint of hitting the right notes at the right time and faultless intonation, but that the various choirs of the orchestra are impeccably balanced. Clearly, these players have moved far beyond merely listening to themselves to listening to each other. Szell's stereo recordings of the Haydn symphonies have been issued several times on CD, including an atrocious transfer on the Odyssey series, and on the budget Essential Classics and Masterwork's Heritage lines. This four disc set includes all of Szell's Haydn symphonies recorded in stereo with the Cleveland Orchestra for Epic/Columbia, and Symphonies Nos. 88 and 104 ("The Clock") from the monaural era which had never been put out on CD, and both the 1957 and 1969 recordings of Symphony No. 97. The set uses the best existing transfers for each symphony, and Nos. 88 and 104 are newly remastered. Though these two symphonies are in mono, the sound in some ways is more natural than the stereo recordings because the latter were miked too closely. Dynamics, which were constricted on LP, have been opened up. The strings have lost their aggressive edge and have a sweeter, more natural character. As is customary with the Masters series, this is a budget priced, bare bones release. There are no liner notes, but one can always look up information on the works on the Internet (Wikipedia has articles on each symphony). Many collectors may well have some of these symphonies already and may not be interested in getting the set for the mono Symphonies. But those without these recordings would do well to snap them up. Report Abuse

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