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CD Review

Franz Joseph Haydn

London Symphonies

  • Symphony in E Flat Major, Hob I: 99 (1793)
  • Symphony in G Major "Military", Hob I:100 (1794)
  • Symphony in D Major "Clock", Hob I:101 (1794)
  • Symphony, Hob I:102 (1794)
  • Symphony in E Flat Major "Drumroll", Hob I:103 (1795)
  • Symphony in D Major "London", Hob I:104 (1795)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham
EMI 5 85513 2
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This compilation was originally released on CD set as 64066 in 1992 as part of "The Beecham Edition". The notes on the outside suggest that this is the same remastering since the date is the same. There is, however, a significant difference in the sound. The previous issue sounded 'tubby' with what could best be described as a 'wooly' sound around the music. There is now a clearer definition and a back-to-front perspective to the sound. Stings are clearly heard and, more important, solos are as well. This may be due to a higher level of transfer. I am not sure what it is but I know what my ears hear.

Beecham's Haydn is elegant, light, charming and humorous. The opening of the 'Drum Roll' is fittingly ominous. At the recording session Sir Thomas told the orchestra that 'we will make sure there is plenty of drum roll'. This is not historically informed but then there is no future in the past.

If you already have the earlier set, keep it. There are no notes of any kind with this one. The sound here, however, is improved and I recommend it to those who can find it. So far as I can tell it is not available in the U.S. but can be had from sites overseas.

Copyright © 2004, Robert Stumpf II