15 May 2012

Haydn: The Paris Symphonies

Easy CD-DA | FLAC tracks | Covers | 663 Mb

2 CD | 01/11/2000 | Philips | 143:00

Haydn’s so-called Paris Symphonies, written in 1785-6 for the famed orchestra of the Concert de la Loge Olympique, have fared pretty well on CD. And the existing period-instrument versions, all of them very recommendable, are now joined by this new set from Frans Brüggen and his crack cosmopolitan orchestra, recorded at concerts in Paris and The Netherlands. Brüggen is crisp and vital in the allegros, yet always allows the music plenty of breathing space. And his phrasing of the lyrical themes is more expressively moulded than on any of the rival versions. The main theme of No. 85’s opening Vivace, for instance, glides with a feline grace, and the first movement of No. 84 has an airy, dancing elegance. Yet Haydn’s dramatic coups, such as the barbaric dissonances in the first movement of No. 82, are played for all they’re worth; and throughout Bruggen shows a shrewd grasp of long-range structure, knowing just when to tighten the screws (as in the fiercely modulating developments in the finales of Nos. 83 and 85, both unusually tense and truculent here, and the thrilling, brassy codas to the finales of Nos. 82 and 86). Occasionally, notably in the initial Allegro spiritoso of No. 83, Brüggen’s fondness for shading away at cadences can soften the music’s contours. Against that, though, the magnificent opening movement of No. 86 has a breadth and grandeur of carriage unmatched in the rival period performances, while the outer movements of the underrated No. 87 are delightfully spruce and pointed.

Brüggen judges nicely the pace and character of each of the minuets, ranging from the red and gold pomp of No. 82 to the brisk and breezy No. 85, with its whiplash accents and whooping high horns. And, predictably, his phrasing in the slow movements is more affectionate, more highly nuanced, than on any of the competing versions. His tempos here are all aptly chosen, the Allegretto of No. 82 done with a gentle, demure charm, the 6/8 Andante of No. 84 combining grace with an easy forward motion, and culminating in a ravishing woodwind cadenza (5'29''). And, without aiming for the smouldering intensity and broad pacing of Roy Goodman, Brüggen gives full value to the extraordinary brooding Capriccio of No. 86, with a typically acute response to harmonic flux and dynamic contrast. The Philips recordings, made in three separate venues (and with preternaturally quiet audiences), are remarkably consistent, combining transparency with a pleasing ambient warmth.

-- Richard Wigmore, Gramophone [11/1999] 


Disc: 1
Symphony In C, Hob. I:82 'The Bear'
Symphony In G minor, Hob. I:83 'The Hen'
Symphony In E flat, Hob. I:84

Disc: 2

Symphony in B flat, Hob. I:85 'The Queen'
Symphony in D, Hob. I:86
Symphony in A, Hob. I:87

Orchestra of the 18th Century
Frans Brüggen, conductor

1 comment:

Denis Amadeus said...

thanks buddy! your effort is appreciated.