These classic recordings of Haydn's "London Symphonies" have long been acclaimed as probably the best ever with the idiosyncratic conducting of Harnoncourt beautifully suited to the flawless playing of the Concertgebouw. Although Harnoncourt is not Beecham, he manages to bring an incredible lift to the music especially in Symphony #94, "Surprise" with the Finale particularly enticing.
The lesser known symphonies such as Nos. 95, 96 and 97 are given the care and attention they rarely receive with the slow movement of #96 particularly enticing and beautiful. Harnoncourt brings forceful tempi and great thrust and energy to the later symphonies such as #102 and #103, "Drum Roll". All in all, this is a wonderful set with rich and copious notes and immaculate recordings. Not much else to say except that if you don't have it, go out and buy it!
Copyright © 2008 by Gerald Fenech