Thanks for all the ideas! On my LP shelves, FJ Haydn is sandwiched between KA Hartmann and HW Henze. I've been more inclined to reach for one of those guys. But these exchanges got me curious, plus I recorded a piano recital last week that contained an entertaining sonata by Haydn. Could really hear how much Beethoven owed to Haydn's example when it came to sly tricks and humor. Joseph a Stan Laurel to Ludwig's Lou Costello?
Aside from some chamber music, I had three Haydn symphony albums perched between the two moderns. #88 by Eugen Jochum (DGG, with #98) seems to me typical of this conductor in its sensitivity and lack of ego. Berliner Philharmoniker takes it seriously, that is to say beautifully yet not over-powered. Appealing, engaging, gemütlich.
One of the LB Columbia series was sitting there, #99 and #100. I guess this one made the cut a while ago, because 99 is absolutely terrific. 100 is somewhat less spirited. The recording gets in the way of the Allegretto military music, blunting the expressive dynamics. The Menuetto goes a little flat-footed. And the disc has the usual affliction of Columbias of that period - the sides start out sounding okay and get steadily worse. But that doesn't hurt 99 so much. I'll have to dig out the other Bernstein/Haydn albums to see if my feelings about them have changed. This one certainly has little resemblance to that stinker on DG.
Being that Reiner was LB's conducting prof, it's appropriate that his last recording, of Haydn 101 and 95, was also at hand. I had never put it on. $0.75 at a library sale, it's a 1964 Decca pressing, mint as a little scrub-a-dub-plate on my VPI revealed. Fritz was very ill and it's a pick-up band, but there's that sound! It's not joyful or light-hearted Haydn, but 101 doesn't suffer for the seriousness with which the pieces are made to fit. The music seems more to be revealed than performed. It does suffer from poor recorded balance, however, the horns and trumpets buried behind the strings. Maybe Andreas fixed that - I'll check out the CD next time.
Scherchen, eccentricities? I don’t believe it. Definitely want to hear those given how extraordinary his Beethoven is. Don't think I've heard any of the Colin Davis versions, though I generally like his work. Did have access years ago to the complete Dorati sets, but I hadn't gained an appreciation for him then. Adam Fischer's, otoh, I heard quite a lot of while DJing an afternoon show, and always enjoyed those readings. Recall them being successful examples of Nimbus Ambisonics. Glad to know you can still get them. I think he more recently recorded a Beethoven symphony cycle that was well received.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Donald Tait
Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2014 6:39 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Haydn
I support Steve completely about Scherchen's recordings of Haydn symphonies. I know that he and I can remember the 1950s, when Scherchen's Westminster Haydn symphony recordings were sometimes cited as a model. In my experience, they were almost cited as a cult. So I bought and still own them all. I remember thinking that Scherchen's Westminster LPs of a few earl(ier) symphonies, such as #49, 44, #55 ("The Schoolmaster"), and perhaps #63 (?) were superb. But his recordings of the "London" symphonies (93-104), which I own, were sometimes jaw-droppingly weird. One would hear (say) three movements that seemed almost ideal with one that could only be described as loony. I seem to recall no. 98 as that way concerning the finale.
Some of us surely own the six-LP Westminster album set of Scherchen's "London" symphonies. I do. Bound in silk, no less. (Real silk? Is it?) Perhaps Steve has kept his, too....
From: Steven Smolian <[log in to unmask]>
To: ARSCLIST <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Fri, May 9, 2014 9:27 am
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Haydn
I care less about pitch-perfect intonation than what the conductor gets (or
allows) the orchestra to convey.
The Bernstein NY Phil Haydn Symphonies have given me great pleasure. They have considerable energy and, in appropriate places, bounce, a clear sense of architecture, and an awareness of Haydn's sly sense of humor without underlining, a combination I find nowhere else. They make me smile. For more "informed" readings, I like the Hogwood, pitch-adjusted OL set.
I do like the Adam Fischer readings. I've not heard Davis in Haydn who I find elsewhere somewhat metronomic. I HATED his Sibelius Symphonies.
The earlier Doratis have a "rough and ready" tinge that probably reflects the orchestra's unfamiliarity with so many of the earlier works before the recordings were made. His later Symphonies were OK but I enjoyed- that's the proper term- Bernstein's more.
A sleeper is Beinum's mono 96 on London. The extra horn line in the last go-round of the trio may or may not be authentic, but it amusingly refernces London's foghorns.
As to Scherchen, his Haydn is gimmicked up. The 100 was fun at early audio shows but the group lacks the feeling of being inside Haydn's mind. Theyr'e just readings, sometimes misdirected. I'd not sit through one of them again voluntarily.
One person's opinion.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dave Burnham
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2014 12:39 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Haydn
I don't believe the Colin Davis set on Philips can be beat.
Sent from my iPhone
> On May 9, 2014, at 12:03 AM, Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>
> My favorite Haydn recordings are mostly from the 40s-70s Josef
> Krips,Hermann Scherchen,Serge Kossevitzky,Eugen Jochum,George
> Szell,and all those old guys,but as a whole Paavo Jarvi is my favorite
> modern conductor.Here he is in the Haydn #84
>> Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 22:27:00 -0400
>> From: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Haydn
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Thanks Alex. I don't listen to enough Classical period music to know
>> what I like necessarily, but I know I don't like portentous. That's
>> what came to mind from LB's #88 on DG, until the finale, which seems
>> more engaged than the rest of the performance. On the flipside, #92
>> fairs better, but not anything to treasure, IMO. Inner movements
>> don't go anywhere; they're played the same at the end as at the
>> beginning. I first encountered his Haydn records in the mid-80s and
>> thought: great, hopefully they play him like they play Gershwin. But
>> I was disappointed. Three are in a give-away pile, along with the DG.
>> LB wasn't generally a stickler for textual fidelity and he wasn't
>> always well prepared. Orchestra's know this when they see it.
>> According to one biographer, he could be quite casual about some of
>> his recordings. Sessions for short, war-horse pieces were sometimes
on his calendar as "shit."
>> They were said to be quick, barely-rehearsed sessions. When it
>> worked, the spontaneity could be delightful. When it didn't, ...
>> They shouldn't have had any technical problems with Haydn, but the
>> NYP could also be rather inconsistent. [<-Understatement.]
>> Who would you say does nail FJH in recent years?
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alex McGehee
>> Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2014 7:37 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mitrop[olous was Dora Labbette, Soprano with
>> Sorry for the delay, was working on deadline for another project. The
>> Bernstein performances have been widely praised, held up as models,
>> etc., but I can't board that train. The string playing is sloppy,
>> intonation questionable at times, especially in the "Paris" cycle.
>> Now please don't ask me for specifics because I gave my sets away
>> years ago. Unable to make the connection many others have made with
>> the late Haydn symphonies conducted by Bernstein, I jotted down a few
>> notes and was glad to have the empty shelf space open up. Sections in
>> the outer movements were on occasion especially egregious for poor
>> My favorite Bernstein/Haydn performance is on YouTube (don't have the
>> link but it's easy to find) where Bernstein uses only his facial
>> gestures to conduct the VPO in the final movement of no. 88 in G
>> major. It's a "look Ma no hands" moment of priceless peacock-ary, and
>> of course the orchestra can play the piece superbly even with
>> blindfolds on. Bernstein was truly a great man and he would have been
>> the first to tell you so. I apologize in advance to his many fans for
>> being a little harsh here, and on checking see that I still have his
performances of 88 and 92.
>>> On May 6, 2014, at 5:33 PM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Alex, I'm curious how you feel about Bernstein's Haydn performances.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alex McGehee
>>> Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:45 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mitrop[olous was Dora Labbette, Soprano with
>>> Hi guys,
>>> The Haydn literature is replete with spurious timpani parts and over
>>> the years they've gained a large group of devotees, never mind that
>>> Haydn never wrote them and had the resources available to do so.
>>> Maybe Haydn played the drums and that would cool off this simmering
>>> musical brew of yes-he-did, no-he-didn't continuo crowd led by James
>>> Webster of
>>> The German authorities (who must be obeyed): at the Joseph Haydn
>>> Institute in Köln, responsible for the complete edition of Haydn's
>>> work that got underway in the late 1950's. Why it's taken so long I
>>> can't go into detail here, but it's almost done, give or take
>>> another seven years. A scholar there has laid down a serious
>>> argument for several symphonies that don't really have high alt
>>> horns. I kind of like the symphonies that way and so did H. C.
>>> Robbins Landon (he had a
>> passion about them).
>>> The credo (within reason) must alway aim at the composer's original
>>> intentions which do include later revisions and authorized
>>> arrangements (like the flute and string instruments Johann Peter
>>> Solomon wrote out from Haydn's symphony scores). I enjoy the playing
>>> of the BPO with Karajan at times, but it's not Haydn. (And Landon
>>> thought it the gold standard)The wind and string parts are all out
>>> of balance and the timpani part (so important to Haydn when he
>>> actually wrote one) has trouble getting through. I'm not a cat gut
>>> wing-nut, just someone who likes these works served up with true
>>> balance and not overly controlled with spot mics. And don't get me
started on Harnoncourt.
>>> Alex McGehee