Pinnock's recordings of Haydn's middle-period "Sturm und Drang" Symphonies (or "Storm and Stress," a term describing the turbulent, explosive impact of much of the music here) are real classics. It's great to have these late-1980's vintage performances.
The music is some of my favorite Haydn, and for those who think of the composer as something of a kindly old grandfather will be knocked over by this set. The music was revolutionary for its time: restless, probing, highly passionate and endlessly experimental. In many ways, I prefer the high tensions and bold imagination of these works to Haydn's more popular "Paris" and "London" Symphonies of his more mature years.
Pinnock and the New English Concert were one of the premier period ensembles of their time, and they do this incredible music proudly with alert, energetic performances. To top it off, the CD booklet compiles all of the excellent notes that were part of the original series.
If you're familiar with Haydn only through his later symphonies, this set is guaranteed to give you a different perspective on "Papa" Haydn -- now as an ambitious young man struggling to create something new and radically different, using a prince's orchestra as his laboratory. Fascinating and compelling.--Amazon