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SACD Review

Franz Joseph Haydn

MD&G SACD 9011325-6
  • "La fedeltà premiata", Hob. XXVIII:10
  • Symphony "Oxford" Hob. I:92
  • Symphony "The Surprise" Hob. I:94
Austro-Hungarian Haydn Philharmonic Orchestra/Adam Fischer
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG9011325-6 Hybrid Multichannel SACD 51m
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Adam Fischer and his excellent Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra have already recorded a complete cycle of Haydn symphonies for the Nimbus label that was only the second cycle ever recorded after Doráti's pioneering effort in the 60's and 70's. This new MD&G disc brings two live performances of Symphonies #92 and #94 recorded last September in Graz together with an interesting addition in the form of the overture to the opera, 'La fedeltà premiata'.

Symphony #92 is one of my great favourites and Fischer is certainly up to the task of delivering an excellent performance. The opening First movement starts with a palpable Adagio that careers off into a charming Allegro spirituoso. At times, the acoustic of the Stefaniesaal in Graz is rather boxy but the slow movement and Finale certainly benefit from Fischer's no-nonsense direction. The Finale is also merry and joyous in keeping with the whole spirit of the work.

Symphony #94 has received some pretty excellent performances over the years with my perennial favourite remaining Sir Thomas Beecham's brilliant account with the RPO recorded in the 50's. Fischer's interpretation is slightly more sedate but is still quite brilliant in its incisiveness especially in the outer movements. The overture to 'La fedeltà premiata' is nothing but the Finale to Symphony #73, 'La Chasse' and is played quite sparklingly here.

This is quite a fine disc although it is quite short changed at just over 51 minutes. Haydn enthusiasts will already have several performances of these symphonies in their collections but Fischer always has something new to say and is definitely worth a listen.

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech

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