Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Haydn - Symphonies Nos.22, 63, 80 - Orpheus Chamber Orchestra


If you want these works, then you will find no finer recording in the catalog than this one, now permanently available thanks to's "on demand" process (with original booklet and notes). Although the most familiar works are "The Philosopher" (with its two English horns replacing the usual oboes) and the "Roxelane" symphony, the standout piece actually is Symphony No. 80 in D minor. Its first movement is one of the funniest pieces that Haydn ever wrote, as well as one of the most disturbing to those with an exaggerated belief that great music must be serious. Here, Haydn mocks his own "Sturm und Drang" mannerOrpheus Chamber Orchestra with an insouciant barrel-organ tune that trips up the anguished opening at every turn. The finale is a syncopated riot, and it's all played with amazing virtuosity and precision by the conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. DG's sonics are a touch bright but are generally well-balanced with plenty of impact. This is an essential disc for any Haydn symphony collection.--David Hurwitz

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