Haydn: Complete Symphonies Vol 7 / Fey, Heidelberg So
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After a slightly disappointing showing in two of Haydn's greatest Sturm und Drang symphonies (Nos. 49 and 52) Thomas Fey is back on form, and not just because he's not using that blasted harpsichord continuo. He's always at his best in Haydn's symphonies with trumpets and timpani, where he can let the brass rip with uninhibited gusto, and that's just what he does in Nos. 69 and 86. The former opens with a theme very similar to that in Symphony No. 48, full of that wiry brilliance that Haydn basically owned. Fey's performance is easily the finest yet recorded of this punchy, compact, and hugely entertaining piece.
No. 86, in addition to its thrilling outer movements, is special for its Capriccio (Largo) slow movement, an essay in mysterious harmony punctuated by sudden emotional outbursts that anticipates the "Representation of Chaos" that opens Haydn's oratorio The Creation. Fey paces this piece, with its dramatic pauses, as well as anyone ever has.
Symphony No. 87 is the least familiar of the six "Paris" symphonies, but it's in no way inferior to the other five. No one attacks the opening with the same vigor as Bernstein, with his incredibly powerful bass lines, but Fey comes close. There is some lovely flute playing in the slow movement, and the finale--Haydn with one of his most meltingly gracious quick tunes--sounds particularly fresh and joyful. The sonics have plenty of impact, giving the trumpets and drums their due but never approaching the kind of blaring vulgarity that sometimes passes for "authenticity" these days. You'll love this!
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: 98268
Label: SWR Music
Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor: Thomas Fey
Orchestra/Ensemble: Heidelberg Symphony