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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Haydn, Symphony No. 7, Symphony No. 83, Violin Concerto, Harry Christophers, Handel and Haydn Society

When it is a matter of Harry Christophers conducting the Handel and Haydn Society, of an unbroken tradition of Haydn performances in the US for more than 200 years, you know you are in for some authentic and engaging music. And indeed that is what you get on their latest, Symphony No. 7 Le midi, Symphony No. 83 La poule, and the Violin Concerto in C major (CORO 139). This is volume 2 in their latest coverage of Haydn Symphonic gems. I waxed enthusiastic for the first some time ago here when it came out (type Haydn in the search box above) and I am happy to say that this volume continues the excellence.

There is a right-sized orchestra for authentic practice, no 120 musicians creating imposing Beethoven-Bruckner mountains of accretion. Not surprising. Gottlieb Graupner, a founder of the orchestra, was oboist performing Haydn in London before he moved to Boston. And in Harry Christophers, director of the H & H since 2008 and also of the acclaimed early music group the Sixteen, we have a master of the authentic nuances of these works. The live recording in Boston's Symphony Hall has real presence.

The "Violin Concerto in C major" is an especially nice addition, as it is not as well known as it should be. It was only published in the 20th century. Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky does a fine job with the solo part, unfussy and direct.

And we get two excellent examples of early and later Haydn symphonies, the Seventh with its grace and uncomplicated freshness, the 83rd with its more developed dramatic complications, each in its own way superb and superbly played.

I give you my strongest recommendations for this offering. It leaves nothing to be desired.

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