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Haydn: The Paris Symphonies Nos. 82-87
     

Haydn: The Paris Symphonies Nos. 82-87

by Nikolaus Harnoncourt
 
Of Haydn's 104 numbered symphonies, the "Paris" Symphonies (nos. 82-87) count among his most popular. Brimming with imagination and each one as delightful as the next, they meet an ideal interpreter in Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus Wien on this splendid three-disc set. Composed in 1785 and '86 on commission from a

Overview

Of Haydn's 104 numbered symphonies, the "Paris" Symphonies (nos. 82-87) count among his most popular. Brimming with imagination and each one as delightful as the next, they meet an ideal interpreter in Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus Wien on this splendid three-disc set. Composed in 1785 and '86 on commission from a French nobleman for performance at a Parisian concert society, they were crafted to show off the society's virtuoso orchestra -- the finest in Europe at the time -- with scintillating writing for nearly every player, including the winds. Nowadays, it's Concentus Musicus Wien that numbers among the best orchestras of Europe, especially among those who specialize in historically accurate instruments. And true to form, their playing -- inspired by Harnoncourt's fresh and lively direction -- is bold and vital, yet without skimping on elegance. Haydn fans will want to skip straight to the nicknamed symphonies: the "Bear" (after the rustic "bear dance" in the finale), the "Hen" (for the clucking oboe in the opening movement's second theme), and the "Queen" (a favorite of Marie Antoinette), each of which comes off vividly. But don't overlook the other three, which are equally inventive and enchanting. With excellent acoustics to boot, this pulse-quickening offering is sure to be one of the year's standout recordings.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Over many decades, founder Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the early music ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien have maintained an exemplary musical relationship that has yielded wonderful results in the Baroque and Classical fields, particularly in their strongly characterized and idiomatic performances of music by Mozart and Haydn. This triple-disc collection of Haydn's marvelous "Paris Symphonies, Nos. 82-87," is topnotch, for it displays the musicians' high standards in all aspects of historical scholarship and period performance practice, and offers interpretations that are admirable for their freshness, good humor, and zest. Harnoncourt approaches these symphonies with a lively, unfettered imagination, ever alert to Haydn's unpredictability and keen to avoid stuffy mannerisms. As a result of his spontaneity, his orchestra is inspired to play in a buoyant and insouciant manner that always surprises and never bores. The nicknamed symphonies, "No. 82, The Bear"; "No. 83, The Chicken"; and "No. 85, The Queen of France," may draw the newcomer's attention first of all, but the remaining three works share with them the same vividness and panache, and should not be skipped. The recorded sound is delightfully vibrant and spacious, with radiant timbres and crystal clear details in an ideally resonant venue.
Gramophone - Lindsay Kemp
If [observing all repeats] makes for one more disc than the norm, there is certainly no danger of the music outstaying its welcome. For the pre-Revolution Parisians these were grand works of powerful and unrelenting invention, and Harnoncourt's achievement is to remind us of the fact, revealing in these underrated masterpieces a brilliance and muscle that can almost make us forget 200 years of symphonic history.
Birmingham Post - Christopher D. Morley
Auditioning only one [symphony] left me breathless and elated, on a reeling high, for these are readings from the expert Concentus Musicus under the galvanising direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt which zing with energy, taking no prisoners, but bowling the listener along in a flood of adrenaline.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/05/2005
Label:
Rca
UPC:
0828766060225
catalogNumber:
60602

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