_Composers – Haydn

Haydn / Symphonies No. 89 & 90 / Somogyi – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

More Symphonies No. 89 & 90 / Somogyi

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper side two (Symphony 90) is some of the BEST SOUND we have ever heard for any Haydn Symphony, and recently we heard some awfully good ones such as those performed by Dorati for Mercury. I rank these performances right up there with Dorati’s, and on this side two I would have to say that the sound found on this early Westminster pressing (WST 17043) is EVEN BETTER than the sound of that Hot Stamper Merc. This pressing is nothing short of SUPERB in every way. Who knew?  (more…)

Haydn / Symphonies 100 & 101 – Reviewed in 2010

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

More Symphonies 100 & 101

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

The New York Times review for these performances called them “matchless” and we see no reason to disagree! With Super Hot Stamper sound for No. 100, “Military”, we’re confident you will have a very hard time finding better sound and music from Haydn than is found on this original Black Label Vanguard Stereophonic Demonstration Disc.

Side one, containing Symphony No. 100, “Military”, is smooth and rich and full of tubey magic, the kind of analog sound that has not been recorded for more than thirty years. Because the top end is not boosted and phony like most audiophile pressings, you can play a record like this at much more realistic levels without fatigue or harshness. Try that with the average Reference or Telarc. (more…)

Haydn / Cello Concertos in D & C / Rostropovitch – Reviewed in 2010

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

More Cello Concertos in D & C / Rostropovitch

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is a Minty 1976 EMI British Import LP with very good sound and ENCHANTING music. The vinyl is very quiet. Haydn’s cello concertos are engaging and relaxing at the same time. The sound is quite good for EMI — it seems to fit this music perfectly  (although more top end would have been nice). The tone of the cello is exquisite

Mark Levinson – Acoustic Recording Series, Volume 2 – Reviewed in 2008

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

The sound on the record is excellent. It was engineered by Mark Levinson, on special equipment designed to create virtually noiseless ultra-low-distortion master tapes, without noise-reduction systems. It’s mastered by Robert Ludwig. 

The first side contains Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales played on the piano by Lois Shapiro. Side two contains her performance of Haydn’s Sonata No. 49.

Prokofiev / Concerto #2 / Leibowitz / PSO – A Top Performance

More Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Concerto #2 / Leibowitz / PSO

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is a very nice looking RCA Living Stereo Shaded Dog LP. Some parts sound better than others but the real reason to buy this record is the performance. Frager is amazing here; he won awards for his performance of this piece in international competitions. The record also features Haydn – Sonata No. 35. The record is a member of HP’s TAS list.  

Haydn / Symphonies No. 22 & 90 / Ansermet – Reviewed in 2012

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Nearly White Hot Stamper sound (A++ to A+++) for side one of this early British Stereo Treasury pressing, which should not come as too much of a shock — this is after all a vintage Golden Age performance by Ansermet and L’Orchestre de La Suisse Romande, a 1966 recording from the glorious Victoria hall in which so many of our favorite recordings were committed to analog tape through the all-tube chain Decca had perfected. 

If only they all sounded this good! Although side two sounds much better than the average STS we play, at A+ it’s hardly in the same league as this superb side one.

Side One

A++ to A+++, so transparent, BIG, spacious and natural, this is the sound of live classical music. Many of the colorations some audiophiles like — the Decca thickness and overly rich bass just to pick two — are not to be found here, which is precisely why it sounds more like live music! (more…)

Haydn / The Surprise Symphony / Fjeldstad

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

More The Surprise Symphony / Fjeldstad

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This vintage RCA Living Stereo Camden LP has Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. It’s one of the best Camdens, if not actually THE best. In true Living Stereo fashion, a natural, realistic concert hall perspective unfolds before you. As we noted about side one: it’s rich, smooth, sweet and tubey — what’s not to like? Lovely sheen on the strings too. This is our kind of sound! 

Fjeldstad’s performance is excellent as well. Fjeldstad, you may remember, is the man behind the definitive Peer Gynt on Decca (SXL 2012). His recordings may not be common but they have never disappointed. If you can’t own all 104 of Haydn’s symphonies, make sure that at least this one is in your collection. (more…)

Haydn / Symphonies 59 & 81 – The Best on Record

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

More Symphonies 59 & 81

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

These are THE BEST HAYDN SYMPHONIES I have ever heard on disc. Folks, until I heard Dorati and the Festival Chamber Orchestra perform these pieces I never knew there could be this much FIRE in Haydn’s music. (Please excuse the pun; the 59th Symphony is entitled “Fire”.)

Mercury bring the kind of recording energy and presence to this music that I have frankly never heard before. Credit must go to both Dorati and his players.

His tempi are fast and sprightly throughout, and the smaller orchestra allows the players to zig and zag with the musical changes much more quickly than would be the case with a larger and more inertia-bound group.

The FCO are so technically proficient and so light on their feet that Dorati was able to push them to dizzying heights of performance. For the first time I can honestly say that Haydn’s music really works — it’s wonderful!

(If you’ve ever heard Previn conducting Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony with the L.A. Phil from 1990 you will know what I mean. In his (their) hands the work is so lively it’s hard to hear it performed by anyone else. Bad digital sound but it’s worth it to hear the piece played with such gusto.) (more…)

Beethoven / Haydn / The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

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More Haydn

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is a lovely sounding Red Seal pressing of cello and violin, with smooth, natural, tonally correct sound and correctly sized instruments, something you don’t hear often on recordings with Heifetz. They tend to have huge violins and small orchestras. In these chamber works perhaps the engineers had an easier time of getting it right. The sound is transparent, spacious and three-dimensional in the best Living Stereo tradition.

If you love the sound of the violin and cello, played by virtuosos of the highest order, this is the record for you. (more…)