Customer Reviews for: George Szell Conducts Haydn

4 Reviews in Total
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 HAYDN - MY NEW OBSESSION November 5, 2013
By H. Ghartey (Callicoon, NY) -- See All My Reviews
I HAVE JUST BEEN INTRODUCED TO HAYDN VIA AN ON-LINE MUSIC COURSE AND ORDERED THIS TITLE AS A START. JUST LOVE IT. I AM AN OLD BEETHOVEN FAN, AND KNEW NOTHING ABOUT HAYDN BEFORE THIS. WHAT A REVELATION! LOVELY SET; LOVELY MUSIC. SO RICH, DEEP AND PLAYFUL AT THE SAME TIME. Report Abuse

 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 R. 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!
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 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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