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Cat. No. CHAN 0662 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0662 - Haydn: London Symphonies, Vol. 2
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Available From: 19 October 2000
One of the most striking features of the twelve symphonies that Haydn composed for London between 1791 and 1795 is the strong sense of rapport between the composer and the intended audience. It was a popularity that he nurtured so that the tastes and enthusiasm of his audience were gradually developed. – for Haydn, popularity went hand in hand with artistic integrity. The three symphonies recorded here were all premiered in different seasons and reveal these qualities to the full.

Symphony No. 94 was given its first performance on 23 March 1792. It begins with a slow introduction but, unusually, softly with wind instruments, and the 6/8 metre that follows is more commonly associated with finales. The slow movement soon occasioned the name ‘Surprise’ because of the sudden ‘fortissimo’ chords. A minuet and trio follows and in the Finale the mood becomes more and more aggressive in its changes of harmonic direction, its rhythmic energy and orchestral colouring.

Symphony No. 101 received its first performance on 3 March 1794. It was again the slow movement that captured the public’s imagination, the slow ‘ticking’ giving rise to the nickname ‘Clock’. The first movement again uses a 6/8 signature and it is preceded by a dark, slow introduction. The brisk Minuet includes a trio section with a deliberate ‘wrong’ chord, but the ‘mistake’ is corrected second time round. The Finale has an enormous variety of mood, although everything is drawn from the first three notes.

Haydn’s last season in London saw the first performance of Symphony No. 102 on 2 February 1795. It is probably the most cerebral of the twelve ‘London’ symphonies, and although there are points of contact with the other symphonies, there were no ‘gimmicks’ to give it a nickname. The composer’s seriousness is particularly shown in the slow movement which is suffused with expressive performance markings and a variety of orchestral colour that are unequalled in any of his other symphonies. Here is Haydn’s mastery of language and comic timing at its very best.
Reviews

‘…a stunning recording… the playing is excellent, and the control of the dynamics very well done, and the pacing first-rate… Very highly recommended.’
Early Music Review on CHAN 0655 (Volume One)

‘….finely played, vigorous and richly detailed readings, excellently recorded…’
International Record Review

‘I praised the first issue in this series recently and am pleased to report that this second instalment of the London Symphonies is up to the high standards of its predecessor’
American Record Guide

‘The greatest virtue remains the vibrant, golden sound of his ensemble: bright clear, and yet warm, exploiting every sonority of these scores to the fullest…delightful!’
Fanfare

‘Hickox’s performances can be recommended to any Haydn lover.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 0655 (Volume One)

‘Hickox gives characteristically crisp, unaffected performances of these favourite symphonies’.
BBC Music Magazine

‘Hickox and his orchestra play with a sense of Georgian London’s animated society bustle and chatter. The disc makes history vivid. No who treads the same pavements should be without it.’
Hot Tickets on CHAN 0655 (Volume One)

 

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