Back from the wilderness of Sony's Essential Classics series, and remastered in nice, clear stereo along with Bernstein's set of Paris Symphonies for this same label, Szell's recordings of the first six London Symphonies represent the ultimate in big-band Haydn. And late Haydn should always be played with a big band: his own ensemble in London numbered some 60 players in a room that held 800. In other words, for one of today's typical concert halls he would have expected a full-sized, modern symphony orchestra, and that's just what he gets here.
The London symphonies, sometimes called the Salomon symphonies after the man who introduced London to Joseph Haydn, were composed by Joseph Haydn between 1791 and 1795. They can be categorized into two groups: Symphonies Nos. 93–98, which were composed during Haydn's first visit to London, and Symphonies Nos. 99–104, composed in Vienna and London for Haydn's second visit.
Every London Symphony, apart from one (No. 95), has a slow introduction to the first movement.
Joseph Haydn, often referred to as 'The Father of the Symphony', has an enormous 109 of these works to his name. Within his vast oeuvre of symphonies is a group of 12, written between 1781 and 1795, which are known as the 'London' symphonies, composed during or for his two visits to the English capital. Brimming with inspiration and character, the 'London' symphonies contain many of the legendary moments of Haydn's works, including the drumroll opening of No.103, the ticking of the clock in the Andante of No.101, the jubilant sound of the triangle in the finale of the 'Military', and that arresting interjection of the timpani in the 'Surprise'. This collection brings together these wonderful works, each of which contributed to Haydn's crafting of the symphonic form that would later be taken up by none other than his pupil and friend, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra was formed by Adam Fischer in 1987 with the express purpose of performing the works of the revered composer.
The London symphonies, sometimes called the Salomon symphonies after the man who introduced London to Joseph Haydn, were composed by Joseph Haydn between 1791 and 1795. They can be categorized into two groups: Symphonies No.93 through 98, which were composed during Haydn's first visit to London, and Symphonies No.99 through 104, composed in Vienna and London for Haydn's second London visit.
This 37-disc box set is the only brand new and fully digital recording of the complete symphonies of Haydn. Performed by the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester (Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra) and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, the recordings were done live in connection with concerts of the whole cycle. The series received fantastic reviews by the press, and The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra was awarded the European Chamber Music Prize in 2008.
The symphonies are well-performed. 'Reformation' is an inspired live recording. The 12 string symphonies, written in Mendelssohn's youth, are also included. The concertos are exceptional - the violin concerto is as good as you'll find anywhere. The oratorios Elijah and Paulus are included, as well as the complete chamber works and a diverse assortment of choral works. The last few discs include the Lied ohne worte, the epic organ sonatas, and excellent renditions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Fingal's Cave. While there are a few sketchy performances in the choral and chamber works, the performances and recordings are generally very solid, and the body of work couldn't be better.