Simon Rattle / London Symphony Orchestra

Haydn: An Imaginary Orchestral Journey

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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

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