Magazine article Gramophone

Haydn: Symphonies-No 52

Magazine article Gramophone

Haydn: Symphonies-No 52

Article excerpt

Haydn

Symphonies--No 52; No 53. 'L'Imperiale'; No 59, 'Fire'

Royal Northern Sinfonia / Rebecca Miller

Signum [F] SIGCD434 (70' * DDD)

Rebecca Miller has already proved her credentials at the more angsty end of the 18th-century symphony with her Editor's Choice CPE Bach disc (5/15). Now she turns to the first manifestation of the Berlin Bach's influence in a pair of works in Haydn's Sturm und Drang style, plus one from a little later.

These are endlessly fascinating symphonies, symptoms of Haydn's isolation at Eszterhaza--the grand palace that Prince Nicolaus 'The Magnificent' built on a Hungarian swamp--and his furious innovation in orchestral and compositional technique. The Fire Symphony (late 1760s) crackles away with tremolando strings and hysterical horns, while the C minor work, No 52 (early 1770s), majors on the stark, Gluckian language Haydn was injecting into his symphonic writing at that time, complete with neo-Baroque falling diminished seventh figures and sudden extremes of dynamics. Miller fields a well-drilled string band of 24 players and allows her horn players off the leash to provide all the effects Haydn dreamt up for them--especially in the glorious high registers of the Fire Symphony. …

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