Alex, I'm curious how you feel about Bernstein's Haydn performances.

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From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
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Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:45 AM
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Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mitrop[olous was Dora Labbette, Soprano with string

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 Cornell.

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. Yikes!

Alex McGehee