Conductor Thomas Fey has been working in a scattershot fashion on a complete Haydn symphony cycle for some time. Although this recording was made in early 2001, it took until 2006 to get to us by way of Hänssler Classic. It was worth the wait, as these accounts of Haydn's C major Symphony No. 82 "The Bear," the G major No. 88, and the C minor effort No. 95, chronologically the second of Haydn's "London" symphonies, are among the most lively and sparkling accounts of these works to be found in the catalog. "The Bear," in particular, with its heavily accented folk rhythms, requires a conductor with sensitivity to Haydn's tempi, which should not be permitted to drag. Fey's "Bear" has plenty of punch and bounce and is never earthbound; it is fleet of foot and contains just enough weight to drive it forward with a sense of power and urgency. The recording is excellent, with a gracious bottom end that gives plenty of oomph to the tympani parts and low strings while remaining clear and appealingly bright on top. All of these elements add up to an excellent exposition of Haydn's ideas, revolutionary in their time through Haydn's ready appeal to the common person -- these pieces were written for public concerts, not court performances. In the right situation, the symphonies should still have such qualities, and it appears as though Fey and the Heidelberger Sinfoniker have managed to push the right buttons in these top-drawer performances of Haydn's symphonies No. 82, No. 88, and 95.
AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis
|Symphony No. 82 in C major ("The Bear"), H. 1/82|
|Symphony No. 88 in G major ("Letter V"), H. 1/88|
|Symphony No. 95 in C minor, H. 1/95|