Haydn Kraus

By Threasher, David | Gramophone, January 2018 | Go to article overview

Haydn Kraus


Threasher, David, Gramophone


Haydn Kraus [G]

'Haydn 2032--No 5, L'homme de genie'

Haydn Symphonies--No 19; No 80; No 81

Kraus Symphony, VB142

Basel Chamber Orchestra / Giovanni Antonini

Alpha (F) ALPHA676; (F) (2) [LP] ALPHA677

(78' * DDD)

Fresh from winning the Orchestral category at last September's Gramophone Awards with his previous volume of Haydn symphonies, Giovanni Antonini returns with a new selection and a new band. The Basel Chamber Orchestra present a sound that is a touch sweeter than II Giardino Armonico's, although that familiar period-instrument 'spit' is still never absent when the Sturm und Drang is turned up to 11.

That sweetness suits these later works, in which Haydn's pithy motivic writing is allied to a melodic breadth--whetting the appetite if these Baloise players are selected to take on the broader canvases of the 'Paris' and 'London' Symphonies. The suave No 81 comes off particularly well, while No 80, one of Haydn's most eccentric creations, is played straight and comes of all the more witty for it. Symphony No 19 is also handsomely done although it seems an odd coupling for the two much later works and might have been omitted from this context to allow for more generous provision of finale second-half repeats elsewhere. (Not that one can really complain in a disc lasting over 78 minutes.) The fourth work is the wonderful C minor Symphony of Joseph Martin Kraus, always worth hearing as perhaps the finest of the Sturm und Drang symphonies not from the pen of either Haydn or Mozart (Kraus's exact contemporary, to whom the work was, astonishingly, once attributed). …

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