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CD Review

Franz Joseph Haydn

Complete Symphonies, Volume 22

  • Symphony in B Flat Major, Hob.I:98
  • Symphony in E Flat Major "Drumroll", Hob.I:103
Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Fey
Hänssler 98.031 58:45
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This sucks. The strings don't have to sound like fingernails on a chalk board. I sometimes think about newcomers to classical music, as I was in 1976. If their only exposure is to ilk like this will they ever listen to how much better the music can sound? Beecham and Bernstein both get more music out of the orchestra than this dude. I had some suspicions that there was HIP things that might be in here when I listened to the opening of #93 but the way he plays it the strings are not as prominent and he had a lot of Bernstein's excitement. But then 103 opened and it all went to fingernails on the chalk board. I pulled out Beecham and Bernstein to cleanse my ears. Frankly, the old NYPO/Sony with Lennie is the best I've heard ever. There's a rustic sense to the music…Beecham has too much of the "stiff-upper-lip"…a phrase from an American not one they choose to use about themselves. I now need to go and remember who the Gramophone reviewer is…note to self: he doesn't have the same ears you do.

[Editor's Note: Out of curiosity I listened to streaming samples of this release. I heard no such harshness in the strings – in fact the sound quality was subjectively quite high. Interpretations are, of course, a matter of personal preference.]

Copyright © 2015, Robert Stumpf