Haydn: Symphonies 92 & 94 - Adam Fischer
MDG Scene 901 1325-6
Classical - Orchestral
Haydn: Symphony No. 92 "Oxford", Symphony No. 94 "Surprise", Overture "La fedelta premiata"
Adam Fischer (conductor)
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Review by John Broggio - January 26, 2006
This disc brings a previously "unknown" work to my attention: La fedelta premiata, a dazzling overture complete with off-stage french horns. I say "unknown", as the overture was also used as the finale to Haydn's 73rd symphony "La Chasse". Unusually for the time, the overture ends very delicately - spirited playing throughout with a real "bite" to the instruments.
The 92nd or "Oxford" symphony has a quiet beginning to the Adagio introduction and seems to almost grow out of the silence - very pleasing. As the dynamic and finally the tempo increases, the soundstage has a most enjoyable environment. The playing is very accomplished at no time does the conducting interfere with my enjoyment of Haydn's music. The adagio is then played at a nicely measured but flowing tempo with beautiful phrasing, in particular, from the oboe player who just floats over the strings. That is, until the dramatic central section which is given due weight. The Menuet is a believable dance (the most important change thanks to HIP?) with accents giving the changes to emphasis across the bar the appropriate feeling of awkwardness. The finale is played with plenty of fire, and as in the rest of the symphony, the use of historical instruments allows accents to register very vividly (particularly from the timpani).
The final work on this (rather short measure at 51'12) disc is the "Surprise" or 94th symphony. Much of the same properties as in the "Oxford" apply here, and I shall only detail the (important) differences. Here the Andante is conducted at a faster but not significantly faster tempo, metronomically speaking, as the 92nd's Adagio but the difference in material means that this doesn't concern me in this respect. More important to me is the quite superb sotto voce playing, that has one straining to hear, which the Osterreichisch-Ungarische Haydn-Philharmonie under Adam Fischer pull off just before the surprise. My wife, who didn't know the work, almost literally jumped out of her seat!
All in all a very fine disc, with superb HIP playing on historical instruments with just that last drop of inspiration missing from Fischer to get "full marks". I loved every note that I could hear. Sadly I couldn't hear every note that Haydn wrote down in the score as the accoustic that it was recorded in is very reverberant and blurs some details (especially when the dynamic drops suddenly). This apart I can recommend the disc wholeheartedly.
As a note, the 2+2+2 recording means that if you have the capability & time (I do not at present), one can configure the loudspeakers so as to have 2 front left & right speakers one above each other to give "three dimensional sound reproduction". The way this is acheived is that the upper left and right speakers are needed to be wired up to the centre channel and subwoofer outputs. This makes this recording effectively 4.0 for most, unless you count the accoustic signature from the centre channel in which case it might be considered 5.0
Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and HRAudio.net