Thomas Fey

Haydn: Complete Symphonies No. 70, No. 73, No. 75

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With a catalog of 104 symphonies, undertaking a recording of the complete Haydn symphonies is one of the most monumental projects any conductor could take on. Not only is the immense amount of music daunting, but keeping listeners engaged and willing to buy volume after volume is almost unimaginable. Enter Thomas Fey, whose leadership of the Heidelberger Sinfoniker and collaboration with Hanssler Classics not only keeps listeners at the edge of their seats throughout each album, but leaves them craving the release of the next installment. The orchestra's sound -- produced by modern strings and winds with period brass and timpani -- is utterly scintillating. String articulation is clean and precise, the timpani is punchy without overwhelming, and the brass are piercing and appropriately shrill, immediately convincing listeners that Fey's decision to use period instruments here is a brilliant one. Fey's vision of Haydn is one of unabashed energy and vitality, and all of his musical decisions -- from dynamics to tempo choice -- are made with Haydn's original intentions in mind. Only adding to the magnificent playing throughout the album is a set of informative (though poorly translated) liner notes that allow listeners to appreciate Haydn's works from a historical perspective, as well. Although the first few installments of this project were a little slow going, listeners can hopefully look forward to volumes 10 and beyond in the very near future.

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