Magazine article Gramophone

Haydn: 'London' Symphonies-No 93

Magazine article Gramophone

Haydn: 'London' Symphonies-No 93

Article excerpt

Haydn [R] 'London' Symphonies--No 93 (a); No 94, 'Surprise' (b); No 95 (c); No 96, 'Miracle' (a); No 97 (a); No 98 (d); No 99 (e); No 100, 'Military' (e); No 101, 'Clock' (f); No 102 (g); No 103, 'Drumroll' (d); No 104,'London' (b) Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra / (abcdeg) Thomas Fey, (f) Benjamin Spillner vn Hanssler Classic (F) (4) HC16001 (5h 4' * DDD) Recorded 1999-2015. From (b) CD98 340, (c) CD98 265, (g) CD98 582 (11/12), (a) CD98 595 (11/10), (e) CD98 014 (1/14), (d) CD98 031 (11/14)

Thomas Fey and his Heidelberg band launched their Haydn symphony survey in 1999 with a disc of the Surprise and London Symphonies. These set the template for much of what was to follow: vivacious, minutely considered readings in which every sound, every gesture had been rethought anew. Strings tore into allegros-, horns were treated as far more than just sustaining instruments; trumpets spat out minatory fanfares; the timpanist was often encouraged to extemporise beyond his written part. Speeds were often extreme--not least in some almost laughably swift minuets, which contrasted with exaggeratedly slow trios. No fermata was left unelongated, no Haydnesque trick left unitalicised. Over the following 15 years, Fey managed to thrill with his chutzpah at the same time as frustrating with his tendency to micromanage.

Fey was forced to withdraw from conducting a few years ago and his concertmaster, Benjamin Spillner, stepped in for a tribute disc of Symphonies Nos 35, 46 and 51 (8/17). Spillner repeats his role in No 101, recorded here to complete Fey's traversal of the 12 'London' Symphonies. …

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