Colin Davis / London Symphony Orchestra

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 92, 93 & 97-99

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The London Symphonies of Franz Joseph Haydn were composed for impresario Johann Peter Salomon, who introduced the composer to London over two visits between 1791 and 1795. Except for the Symphony No. 92 in G major, "Oxford," which Haydn took with him when he received an honorary doctorate at Oxford University in 1791, and the Symphony No. 99 in E flat major, which was composed on a return to Vienna in 1793, the symphonies between them were written for Salomon's first series of concerts at Hanover Square, which brought Haydn great recognition and remuneration. They mark a change of direction in Haydn's method of composition, because he was no longer writing for the small court orchestra of Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, but for Salomon's much larger orchestra, which called for robust and innovative music. This double-SACD set from LSO Live presents Colin Davis with the London Symphony Orchestra in bold and vigorous concert performances that offer extraordinary sonorities in the spacious multichannel recording. The orchestra's playing is vibrant and energetic, and the radiant acoustics of the Barbican give the symphonies the warmth and richness that they need. For mainstream interpretations on modern instruments, this package is sure to satisfy all but the most adamant period-style purists. However, note that this set does not include the Symphony No. 94 in G major, "Surprise"; the Symphony No. 95 in C minor; or the Symphony No. 96 in D major, "Miracle," which may be a drawback for some collectors.

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