Magazine article Gramophone

Latest from Fey and Haydn Suddenly Moves to Grandeur

Magazine article Gramophone

Latest from Fey and Haydn Suddenly Moves to Grandeur

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'Complete Symphonies, Vol 19'

Symphonies--No 26, 'Lamentatione'; No 27; No 42

Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Fey

Hanssler Classic (F) CD98 005 (66' * DDD)

Haydn's Symphony No 42 is a remarkable work. Dating from 1771, at the height of the composer's infatuation with Sturm und Drang, it suddenly replaces the previous concise, concentrated approach to symphonic form with anew relaxed grandeur of scale and pace. At last the melodic and motivic imperatives reach an even keel and perhaps for the first time Haydn exploits the orchestra for a pronounced colouristic effect. The opening movement (in this recording) lasts 13 minutes, as opposed to four and six apiece for this disc's other two symphonies, while the Andantino is the first of his Gluckian 'hymn-like slow movements--a style that would reach an apogee in Symphony No 75; the roustabout finale contains a piquant 'outdoor episode for wind sextet, foreshadowing a similar moment in No 71.

Symphony No 26, on the other hand, is Sturm und Drang with a vengeance, oboes spitting out stretches of plainchant over jittery strings, minor-key tonality and uneasy rhythms to the fore. No 27 is from much earlier--from the time of Haydn's first engagement with the playboy Count Morzin. It too is concentrated and pithy but the emphasis here is on entertainment rather than the exploration of deeper emotions. Thomas Fey's performances continue in the style to which we have grown accustomed: flexible tempi; enthusiastic ornamentation; a sometimes over-literal underlining of effects; a welcome appreciation of the crucial importance of the horns in this music (sample the opening of the Lamentatione Symphony). …

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