Robin Ticciati / Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Joseph Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 31, 70 & 101

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For those looking for a fresh read on Haydn's symphonies, look no further than this release by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and youthful conductor Robin Ticciati. They offer a trio of symphonies in D major, from different parts of Haydn's career, and all have the feeling of having been taken up by musicians who had no preconceptions about them. The general classification of the performance is modern-instrument with influences from the historical-performance movement. The splendid hunting-horn quartets that open the Symphony No. 31, Hob. 1/31, are given to gutsy natural horns, and the lyrical effect of the various solo passages in the slow movement is amplified by the emergence of a continuo fortepiano. The score does specify a continuo ad libitum, but a fortepiano would have been unlikely when the music was composed, in 1765. Nonetheless, the whole thing does make you sit up and take notice, and the excitement continues throughout. Ticciati achieves a fusion of modern and historical performance not quite like any other achieved elsewhere, with vividly sculpted internal lines (especially important in the contrapuntal Symphony No. 70), a good deal of energy, and a great feel for the humor and sparkle of the late Symphony No. 101. This is a performance that demands attention even if you don't agree with every single detail, and it's beautifully recorded by Linn at Edinburgh's Usher Hall.

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