Herbert von Karajan

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 83 "Hen", 101 "Clock", 104 "London"

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If Herbert von Karajan disliked Haydn so much, why did he conduct his music? Because it was expected of him? Because it was part of the standard repertoire? Or because he used it to work out his aggressions? How can you tell Karajan hated Haydn? Listen to this disc of three of Haydn's Symphonies Karajan recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic in the '70s for EMI. Listen to the hostility of the "Hen," to the belligerence of the "Clock," to the sheer nastiness of the "London." Listen to the violence of his Allegros, to the agitation of his Andantes, to the viciousness of his Menuettos. Listen to the harsh attacks of the strings, to the sour colors of his winds, to the cruel tone of his brass. Listen as Karajan ignores the kindness, the wit, the brilliance and the humanity of Haydn and instead treats him like a composer whose music is worthy only of contempt. There are dozens of better recordings available from conductors who actually loved Haydn, conductors like Furtwängler, Klemperer, Walter, Beecham, Szell, Davis, and Krips, to name only a few. In these 1972 and 1976 recordings, EMI originally gave these performances cold and distant sound. In these 2005 remasterings, the sound is just as cold and only a wee little bit closer.

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