Aisslinn Nosky / Harry Christophers

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 6 "Le matin" & 82 "L'ours"; Violin Concerto

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The partnership between British early music conductor Harry Christophers and the venerable American Handel and Haydn Society ensemble has worked out well for all concerned. The Society has been well entrenched in Boston's cultural life since Beethoven's day (they commissioned an oratorio from him at one point), but it has had only a fitful relationship with the recording industry. With Christophers, H&H gets the benefit of the house label of his wildly successful choral ensemble, the Sixteen. Christophers, for his part, gets to stretch forward into the Classical era like many of his early music contemporaries, with a precise and tonally pleasant ensemble at his command. The result here is a trio of Haydn works, never less than competently executed. The highlight is the Violin Concerto in G major, Hob. 7a/4, where the vivacious playing of soloist Aisslinn Nosky contrasts nicely with Christophers' reserved style. That reserved style also serves the Symphony No. 6 in D major, Hob. 1/6, quite well; this early work, with its muted colors depicting morning, somehow comes off differently with each new conductor who essays it. The Symphony No. 82 in C major, Hob. 1/82 ("L'ours," or The Bear), may be deadpan for some; if you like, say, Thomas Fey's cycle of Haydn symphonies (or for that matter older full-symphony readings), give a listen to some samples here. The sound environment of Boston's Symphony Hall is a major attraction in itself.

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