Simon Rattle / London Symphony Orchestra

Haydn: An Imaginary Orchestral Journey

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AllMusic Review by James Manheim

This collection of Haydn movements from Sir Simon Rattle, recording live with the London Symphony Orchestra, has the aim of revealing Haydn the wild experimentalist, the fearlessly original thinker. It doesn't have any right to succeed as well as it does. Surely this facet of Haydn's personality has already been demonstrated by complete works that take their appeal specifically from the composer's endlessly inventive ways of working within strict formal constraints. Yet the performance succeeds brilliantly, and one may observe that it's situations like this that show Rattle's greatness as a conductor. There were theatrical aspects to the performance: the finale of the Symphony No. 45 in F sharp minor, for instance, in which Haydn had pairs of instruments depart from the stage as a suggestion to his employer to declare the season finished, was reenacted on-stage with lamps being turned off. But the mood comes through well enough just by virtue of Rattle's spontaneity. Sample the Allegro assai finale of the Symphony No. 90 in C major, H. 1/90, where he fools an audience primed to expect surprises with the work's double false ending. There are other delights, such as the interlude in the finale of the Symphony No. 60 in C major, H. 1/60 ("Il Distratto"), where the violins pause to tune, and a wild treatment of some pieces for musical clock, where Rattle's arrangement imagines hearing the clocks providing surprises in the halls at Esterháza. A brilliantly realized idea, lots of fun, and the LSO's live engineering has reached higher and higher levels as the orchestra's label continues to issue new music.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Creation, Flob.XXI:2
1 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 05:58 Amazon
The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross, Hob. XX: 1
2 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 01:34 Amazon
L'isola disabitata, Hob. 1a:13
3 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 03:59 Amazon
L'isola disabitata, Hob. Ia:13
4 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 02:22 Amazon
Symphony No. 64 in A major, Hob.I:64
5 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 06:07 Amazon
Symphony No. 6 in D major, Hob.I:6
6 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 04:10 Amazon
Symphony No. 46 in B major, Hob.I:46
7 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 04:10 Amazon
Symphony No. 60 in C major, Hob. I:60
8 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 01:29 Amazon
The Seasons, Hob.XXI:3
9 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 04:10 Amazon
Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor, Hob.I:45
10 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 02:57 Amazon
11 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 04:08 Amazon
Flötenuhrstücke, Hob. XIX:1-32
12 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 02:24 Amazon
Symphony No. 90 in C major, Hob.I:90
13 London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle 07:53 Amazon
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