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London Symphonies Vol 2

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 11 1994)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B0000041AR
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,768 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. Symphony In D: Adagio - Allegro assai
2. Symphony In D: Largo cantabile
3. Symphony In D: Menuetto. Allegro
4. Symphony In D: Finale. Presto ma non troppo
5. Symphony In E Flat: Adagio -- Vivace assai
6. Symphony In E Flat: Adagio
7. Symphony In E Flat: Menuetto. Allegretto
8. Symphony In E Flat: Finale. Vivace
9. Symphony In G: Adagio
10. Symphony In G: Andante
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Symphony In G: 1. Adagio
2. Symphony In G: 2. Andante
3. Symphony In G: 3. Menuetto
4. Symphony In G: 4. Finale
5. Symphony In C: 1. Adagio - Vivace
6. Symphony In C: 2. Adagio ma non troppo
7. Symphony In C: 3. Menuetto. Allegretto
8. Symphony In C: 4. Finale. Presto assai
9. Symphony In D: 1. Adagio
10. Symphony In D: 2. Andante
See all 12 tracks on this disc

Product Description

This is the second volume of Colin Davis's indispensable collection of Haydn's "London" symphonies. Some of the composer's best-known music is here: on this volume, the not-so-subtle humour of the Surprise (No. 94) and the regal pomp of the Military (No. 100). Elsewhere, the elegant No. 97 is less well-known but no less enjoyable. Davis's performances are large-scale but never inflate the music, and the great Dutch orchestra sounds as though it enjoyed working through the series. This and the accompanying--and equally indispensable--Volume 1 make an ideal way to explore a highpoint of the symphonic repertoire. --Richard Whitehouse

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In the review for volume 1 of this collection I gave a general appreciation. Here I would like to give a couple of comments on this most excellent performance. The 12 London Symphonies are not generally appreciated as a whole, and I suspect for a very simple reason: some got a nickname, and some times for a very silly reason. In our oversimplifying world, well, people tend to pay attention to the nickname. That is too bad for those not curious enough to dig further. In this collection we have one opportunity to fairly compare all of these works, recorded in the space of 6 years, a period which one would presume gave the director a chance to maintain the feel for the work. Here you will find, of course, a brilliant "Military" played for its music and not for its pseudo effects as it is found elsewhere. The "London" interpretation has nothing to envy to any other I have ever heard. But for me the most rewarding experiences were in the non-nicknamed opus. For example the adagio from the E-flat Hob I:99 is a revelation under Mr. Davis baton, an almost unbearable poignancy (this particular volume). And the exquisite and almost pensive at times two B flat opus (98 and 102) makes you wonder what it is with the "flat" keys that so inspired Haydn.
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Format: Audio CD
I'll start by saying I usually avoid awarding 5 stars. One very rarely finds the convergence of wonderful music, an inspired orchestra, a talented conductor, AND high quality recording. This set is one of those rarities. Haydn's London Symphonies are among the best music ever written, even if poor Franz didn't seem to suffer from the neuroses necessary to be considered a genius by today's critics. This music is masterful, balanced, and in many movements, fun (God forbid!). No. 94, the "Surprise" and 100, the Military, clearly show Haydn's rare ability to compose richly but not take himself or his patrons too seriously. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra plays with skill and charm (even that horn player who's a bit flat in the Allegretto of the 100th), and Davis directs well (though I think Bernstein's conducting of the 100th had more swagger). Last but by no means least, the quality of the Phillips recording is excellent; clean and well engineered, with no studio boominess shading everything. With so many classical recording being mediocre, I hope your system can reveal all the detail here. This 2-disk set is excellent and a terrific bargain. It all comes together in this one.
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Format: Audio CD
Sir Colin Davis's versions of Haydn's London Symphonies are among the best. Indeed, as a complete set they have no rivals; at budget price, no one should hesitate to buy them. There are, however, some better versions of individual symphonies. For example, the masterful versions of Symphonies 93-97 recorded in the 1960s by George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra are still available. Szell's "big band" Haydn surpasses even Davis's. Both avoid to a great extent the romantic excesses of some popular conductors, but Szell, with generally faster tempi, is not only more exciting, but also gets closer to what Haydn intended (perhaps that amounts to the same thing). Szell's two discs are also budget-priced, and include the 'Oxford' Symphony. Then there are Sir Charles Mackerras's two discs with the Orchestra of St. Luke's which, at full-price and with only two symphonies per disc, come a bit dearer. Mackerras uses modern instruments but period performing style. The results are magnificent. His 'London' (no. 104) and 'Clock' (no. 101) Symphonies - far superior to Davis and the rest of the competition - are worth every penny of their heftier price-tag. Yet, in spite of these and other fine recordings of particular symphonies, Davis's set remains an easy and inexpensive way to acquire all twelve London Symphonies in reliable versions.
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By A Customer on March 14 2000
Format: Audio CD
One never ceases to be amazed at the inexhaustible invention and creativity displayed by the great Haydn in these marvellous works. As I mentioned in my review of Vol. 1 (q.v.) these symphonies, in which the mature genius was working at full stretch, are brimming with vitality, wit, excitement and the warm humanity that is Haydn's trademark. These performances, with the Concertgebouw magisterially conducted by Sir Colin Davis, are fully worthy of Haydn's inspiration. This set contains some of the finest moments: a desert-island version of the most famous of the twelve "London" Symphonies, the "Surprise" Symphony; an urbane and stylish version of "The Clock"; a performance of the "Military" Symphony with its great slow movement that is second to none; and, beginning the set, one of the lesser known masterpieces, the wonderful no. 93 in D Major, one of the perfect expressions of purely musical humor and wit: the minuet is a rollicking parody, with giddy, lumbering rhythms and hilarious contrasts of timbre and dynamics-- a masterpiece of musical humor (it's as if Haydn were lampooning the very form); the wonderful finale with its famous upbeat joke in the recapitulation. Indeed, each of the symphonies has its own delights. All told, this set is a magnificent bargain, the finest version available at any price, and with its companion volume 1 should be in the collection of every lover of truly great music.
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