On 11/05/2014, Alex McGehee wrote:
> As to favorites you really can't leave the historically informed
> movement out in the cold. Bruno Weil and Tafelmusik did some
> outstanding work for Sony. And as to the continuo vs no continuo
> debate; we can hear it at its most excessive extreme in the
> interrupted cycle on Hyperion by Roy Goodman and the Hanover Band or,
> with none at all on the Hogwood AAM interrupted cycle. James Webster
> (a leading Haydn scholar) leads the charge for no continuo, but
> hasn't, to my mind anyway, given a satisfactory answer to the question
> of what it was that Haydn did do if he wasn't behind the keyboard. In
> an era steeped in class and protocol he wouldn't have sat in the first
> chair and upstaged Luigi Tomasini. Haydn did play the violin passably
> well, but Tomasini was a leading player of the day and Haydn just
> wouldn't have pushed him down a seat. Haydn didn't conduct in the
> contemporary sense of the word. So what, Dr. Webster, was it indeed
> that Haydn did? Tap dance?
If you watch a video of the Duke Ellington orchestra, you will get a
good idea. A bit of continuo, and some conducting, but not the continuous
beat that orchestral conductors do today.
Both Haydn and Ellington worked mostly with their regular orchestras,
and wrote solo spots for individual players who they knew well.
> Anyway, I like the Hogwood sets. The have
> some beautiful playing on them. Harnoncourt, his disciple Thomas Fey,
> Franz Brüggen. Not my cup of java although I must admit that Fey has
> the loveliest set of oboe players this side of the great divide, and
> he does work to restore a proper balance of winds and timpani with the
> strings (a main challenge in playing Haydn well). He just goes way
> overboard. Then there are those strange conducting tempo tics he
> picked up from Harnoncourt.
> As to favorites because I sure as Hell digressed (symptom of working
> alone too often without other Haydn lovers to talk to): Dennis Russell
> Davies and the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester put out an excellent set a
> few years ago of all the symphonies. You can still get it via Amazon
> dealers for $80. The individual symphonies all have applause at the
> end which is very irritating if you've decided to listen to a few
> works. The whole thing was done in a Mercedes Benz show room with
> inflatable walls to create the concert space (Yes, Dorothy, there's no
> place like this at home). I really like the set although no on one can
> do them all equally well. I also like some of what Adam Fischer did in
> his cycle, especially that he recorded it in the Esterházy music room
> and it sounds so good.
> Historic recordings: Hermann Abendroth (88, 96) didn't do much, but
> what he did do was superb. Another day, another age. I still have a
> soft space for Leslie Jones and the Little Orchestra of London. Maybe
> because I first heard a number of the works through him. I really like
> everything that the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra did for DG. Lacking a
> conductor by choice, they're forced to really listen to each other.
> Eugen Jochum seems to have fallen out of favor lately, but I still
> like his London set. Kurt Sanderling has been a recent discovery and
> plays big-box Haydn with glorious élan. Try no. 82, the acid test for
> the "Paris" set. It's easy to get through Japanese dealers (Tower has
> it) and it's on the Denon label.
How about Max Gobermann ?
> Well now, I've chattered away far too long and it's time to cut to the
> chase. Forced to pick one Haydn symphony recording for that fabled
> desert Isle, no question: George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra in
> no. 97 in C major. Played like this, with one voice in ensemble it
> shows us how incredibly powerful a composer Haydn was.
> Thanks for asking and apologies to all for the novel length response.
Worth while if it encourages anyone here to listen to more of Haydn's
music. The piano trios are wonderful, as are the best of the Scottish
song arrangements for voice and trio.
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