Thomas Fey

Haydn: Complete Symphonies: No. 41, 44 & 47

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Thomas Fey and the Heidelberger Sinfoniker's bid to record all 104 of Haydn's symphonies demonstrates no lack of ambition. Happily, their playing also exhibits no lack of guts. Everything about their performances on this eighth volume in their Haydn series joining Symphonies No. 41, No. 44, and No. 47 is audacious: the breakneck tempos, the reckless rhythms, the slashing attacks, the blinding colors, and the totally unexpected and often unique interpretive choices. What, for instance, is Fey doing with the tempos of the opening Allegro con brio of Symphony No. 44? He not only takes both the exposition and development's repeats -- an unorthodox decision in itself -- but he also changes tempos at every repeat, slowing down sometimes, speeding up other times, and in general twisting the tempos in ways that defy all precedent, or, some might say, logic. The Heidelberger Sinfoniker validates his approach by sticking with him every step of the way, but while this makes these highly unusual performances more easily comprehensible, whether it makes them more acceptable will be up to the listener. Recorded in the Bürgerhaus in Mörlenbach, Hänssler's sound is clean and colorful, but a bit thin.

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