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Symphonies

Nikolaus Harnoncourt , Haydn Franz Joseph Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 16.35 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. "Haydn : Symphony No.31 in D major, 'Hornsignal' : I Allegro"
2. "Haydn : Symphony No.31 in D major, 'Hornsignal' : II Adagio"
3. "Haydn : Symphony No.31 in D major, 'Hornsignal' : III Menuetto - Trio"
4. "Haydn : Symphony No.31 in D major, 'Hornsignal' : IV Moderato molto - Presto"
5. "Haydn : Symphony No.59 in A major, 'Fire' : I Presto"
6. "Haydn : Symphony No.59 in A major, 'Fire' : II Andante più tosto Allegretto"
7. "Haydn : Symphony No.59 in A major, 'Fire' : III Menuetto - Trio"
8. "Haydn : Symphony No.59 in A major, 'Fire' : IV Allegro Assai"
9. "Haydn : Symphony No.73 in D major, 'The Hunt' : I Adagio - Allegro"
10. "Haydn : Symphony No.73 in D major, 'The Hunt' : II Andante"
11. "Haydn : Symphony No.73 in D major, 'The Hunt' : III Menuetto - Trio"
12. "Haydn : Symphony No.73 in D major, 'The Hunt' : IV Presto [The Chase]"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bullseye Nov. 28 2011
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Period Practice does not come better than this. If the opening of the Hornsignal does not grab you by the . . . . . . widgets, then perhaps you should have been more careful with those scissors when you were younger.

The virtuosity and musicianship of Harnoncout and the Concentus Musicus Wien are astounding. Better still, they sound enraptured from the first bar until the last and why wouldn't they be? The Hornsignal, Fire and La Chasse are three of Haydn's greatest creations and none the worse for lacking the neuroticism of Late Romanticism. Surely the Lord of the Dance must revel in this music. Contrary to expectations, Harnoncourt imparts charm to proceedings; the slow movement of the Hornsignal is a nocturne and idiomatically played here: one is transported back to the 'Magic Castle' in the middle of the Hungarian countryside with nary a light-globe to sully the stars above. The concertante finale of the same symphony is played with poise and stillness. The horn-passages throughout are undertaken with great verse and brio. And what could one possibly say of the finale of La Chasse that would do it justice? It carries all before it.

As played like this, there are no greater symphonies in the world. None.

When I worked in a classical music shop, I would often thunder out this CD on the sound-system and not once did I manage to play it all the way through: it inevitably found a home well before the hunt began in the last movement of La Chasse.

At the behest of his 'Wild Man of Borneo' daemon, Harnoncourt has recorded any number of howlers over time. Here, his madness is transfigured into genius. Redemption accordingly is his.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joyous explosion Dec 10 2011
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was alerted to the existence of this disc by fellow-reviewer Bernard O'Hanlon's encomium and can only thank him profusely for introducing me to one of the most joyously uncomplicated outpourings of melody in the classical repertoire. I have always enjoyed Haydn's best symphonies but trawled mainly the later ones without realising that undiscovered gems lurk amongst earlier ones and this trio must surely be the cream of that crop.

I have also been accused of being unreceptive to period playing but if it were all as alert, musical, well-tuned and sensitive as this, I would be as HIP as a shark's tooth medallion. The exuberance with which the braying, blaring horns attack the opening octave theme is almost shocking and these performances never for a moment lose focus for the duration of this recital. You can sense the exhilaration infusing all the performers of the Concentus musicus here; that is transmuted into an intense concentration in the Adagios and minuets. This is music that allows no trace of proto-Romantic Angst or self-consciousness to cast its shadow: all is poise and grace darkened only by a certain wry, bitter-sweet nostalgia in the elegant, dotted rhythm passages, reminding me of the elderly Countess in "Pique Dame" recalling the stately dances of a bygone age.

This is the kind of music that reminds you why life is worth living and civilisation is worth preserving. It's probably one of Harnoncourt's best recordings in a career which has had its fair share of triumph and disaster - but that's a welcome corollary to the career of a conductor who has never stopped exploring, experimenting and taking risks. This interpretation comes off handsomely.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic period performances of Haydn's hunting symphonies April 8 2011
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is easily one of conductor Nickolas Harnoncourt's greatest recordings, the 1990s collection of Haydn's horn-driven symphonies Nos. 31 "Hornsignal," 59 "Fire" and 73 "La Chasse" or the chase. The braying of four natural horns that opens Symphony 31 is the best sound this music has ever had going for it!

Traditionalists that don't like period strings and sound are probably the only people that shouldn't bother with this issue. Harnoncourt is one of the crown princes of the period movement, perhaps establishing the first well-known period performance way back in the 1960s with that recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. His band uses period instruments and plays without vibrato here but that hardly does anything to get in the way of these magnificent renderings.

Everyone else is going to be swept away by the elan and joie de vive of the Hornsignal, masculine playing in the Fire symphony, and the dance rhythm the conductor gets out of his orchestra in the chase. For his part, Harnoncourt is on his best behavior, eschewing the many highly personal and idioscyncratic devices he often injects into music of the great composers. No great slowdowns, stop or ritards affects this issue.

If you haven't yet made the adjustment to period performance, some of the vigor here can be had in this hybrid super audio recording from Jaap van Zweeden, who scowl on the cover belies the fun and friendliness Haydn put into this music.
1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars garbage June 30 2012
By david morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
i don't particularly like Haydn, but Symphony 31 is one of my favorites. I have an excellent LP from the '60s but wanted a CD.
This is horrible. I can't stand to listen to it. During the entire 1st movement the horns are overblowing terribly. The horns are fine in the second movement but are ruined by a blast of noise from the string section.
The conductor deserves the fate meted out to Morgan le Fay's conductor in The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court.

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