Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s celebrated cycle of Haydn’s late symphonies makes a welcome return to the Warner Classics catalogue, repackaged as a 5 CD cap box set with striking new cover artwork.
The set comprises Haydn’s groundbreaking Symphony No 68, and the complete set of his picturesque London Symphonies, including much-loved works that are central to the repertoire like No 94 (‘Surprise’), No 101 (‘The Clock’), No 103 (‘Drumroll’) and No 104 (‘London’).
Rob Cowan in Gramophone said “An absolute joy: Haydn the musical innovator meets Harnoncourt the maverick pioneer of authentic expression, and by ‘authentic’ I mean a back-to-the-drawing-board preoccupation with how the music should really sound.”
The recordings were originally made in 1987 and 1988 for Teldec.
The CDs join Harnoncourt’s many Haydn recordings in the Warner catalogue, including his acclaimed interpretation of The Creation
Reviews of The 'London' Symphonies:
“Harnoncourt is better able to convince us than all his other rivals (Beecham, Dorati, Colin Davis, Karajan, Solti, Brüggen, Adam Fischer, Tate, Hogwood) of the imperative necessity of his "impertinences", of his dynamic and rhythmic contrasts and of his deep polyphonic edge.” (Le Monde de la Musique, February 1994)
“And the interpretations are once again awe-inspiring, innovatory, profoundly moving .” (L'événement, February 1994)
"There's always a dramatic, theatrical slant to Nikolaus Harnoncourt's Haydn ... It's, quite simply, great Haydn.” (Musica, May 1994)
"One has seldom heard Joseph Haydn's two 'London' Symphonies (96 & 97) played in such refreshingly youthful and vigorous style, free from the cobwebs of an outmoded performing tradition. Acting in total accord with Haydn's own aims, Harnoncourt ensures that each instrumental group gets its due, the musicians of the Concertgebouw acknowledging his efforts on their behalf in the spirited perfection of their playing.” (Audio, February 1994)
"The clear, unequivocal choice of tempi, avoidance of crass contrasts and creation of a wholly individual sound-picture combine to make an exceptionally forceful impression.” (Fono Forum, March 1994)
"The recordings are excellent, shining and roaring.” (Fanfare, July/August 1994)