_Composers – Haydn

Haydn / Symphonies 59 & 81 – The Best on Record

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

Hot Stamper Mercury Pressings Available Now

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.)

Dorati and Haydn

As you may know, Dorati recorded all the symphonies of Haydn for London/Decca. Having played some of them I can tell you they certainly do not sound like this! (Perhaps my copies were not the best, but how many copies of these records can be found nowadays? Not enough to do shootouts with, that’s for sure.)

This recording is not your typical dry, bright, nasaly, upper-midrangy Merc, on side one especially. Here the sound is rich and smooth like a good London, with a big stage and lovely transparency. We graded it A++ to A+++ — side two had more texture to the massed strings than this side one, so we downgraded it half a plus. In virtually every other way it was SUPERB!

Side Two

A touch of that Mercury brightness can be heard on this side, but it is well under control at normal listening levels. The strings are textured and lively, the orchestra just bursting with enthusiasm for this music and the recording captures it all! A++ to A+++, again, superb, and priced accordingly.

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Mozart / Haydn – Symphony No. 35 / Symphony No. 104 / Krips

More of the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791

More Classical and Orchestral Recordings

  • With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, we guarantee you’ve never heard these symphonic masterpieces sound as good as they do here
  • It’s also reasonably quiet at Mint Minus Minus considering that RDG vinyl is often a problem -It’s one of the main things that keeps some pressings from sounding their best, obviously not a problem here
  • This Readers Digest pressing of Krips’s superb 1964 recording for Decca has glorious sound for any LP produced by this notoriously difficult label (difficult for audiophiles, everybody else loved the fact that a whole set of amazing sounding records was less than twenty bucks!)
  • The texture and harmonic overtones of the strings are superb – as we listened we became completely immersed in the music on the record, transfixed by the remarkable virtuosity Josef Krips and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra brought to these difficult and demanding works nearly 60 years ago

This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

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Mozart / Haydn – The Best Toy Symphony on Vinyl

More of the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

More Classical and Orchestral Recordings

  • An early EMI UK import pressing with STUNNING Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • The amazingly well recorded Toy Symphony on side two (which is fairly quiet by the way) is the real reason to own this record – you will be shocked at how realistic the toys sound, and how spaciously they are arrayed in the soundfield
  • These sides are clear, full-bodied and present, with plenty of live venue space around the players, the unmistakable sonic hallmark of the properly mastered, properly pressed vintage analog LP
  • The first pressing of the album I ever played, back in about 1995, was on the Japanese Soundphile Series, and it blew my mind at the time
  • Fast forward 25 plus years and now we know that, as good as the Japanese pressing can be, the real EMI can be even better.  That’s what shootouts are for, right?

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Haydn / Toy Symphony – We Was Wrong about a Japanese Soundphile Pressing

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

Reviews and Commentaries for the music of Joseph Haydn

More Classical ‘Sleeper” Recordings We’ve Discovered with Demo Disc Sound

Many years ago we got hold of a Japanese pressing of Marriner conducting The Toy Symphony and were blown away by the audiophile quality sound. When listing the record for sale, I raved:

“DEMO QUALITY SOUND! This is the best sounding Toy symphony you will ever hear!”

Now we know definitely that this is clearly not true!  We did the shootout in 2022 and found out that the best of the original EMI pressings are even better, a classic case of Live and Learn.

I believe I had at least one or two UK EMI pressings to play against the Japanese ones, but all the details of how I came to this conclusion — a proto-shootout, carried out long before I knew how to do a real one — are lost to the mists of time.

My stereo was dramatically less revealing back then, I had not learned how to clean records properly, and those two facts, combined with the underdeveloped listening skills that go with them, helped me to arrive at the wrong conclusion.

No, the Japanese pressing, specifically targeted to audiophiles, or “soundphiles” if you prefer, is not superior to a properly mastered and pressed UK LP.

If you have more than a handful of Japanese pressings in your collection, you can be sure that there is still plenty of room for improvement in your audio system. An advanced system — the kind we are using today in our shootouts, and didn’t exist back then — will quickly reveal the shortcomings of these formerly desirable pressings.

The Japanese pressings of this album are still good sounding, just not as good sounding as the real thing. For that reason we would not consider them Stone Age Audio records. Perhaps Bronze Age Audio records is a better way to think about them.

OUR REVIEW FROM MANY (10? 15?) YEARS AGO

I discovered how good this Japanese EMI Soundphile Series recording is almost 20 years ago [that would have been in the early 90s]. In that time I can say that I think I may have run across at most two other copies. This is a tough one to find!

But it’s worth the effort, because all the little toys that play along with the music just JUMP out of the speakers. The recording is so transparent and the toys are so well miked it’s like hearing this work for the first time, or live.

This album can easily become a favorite Demo Disc — it has that kind of “you-are-there” sound. This recording was made at Abbey Road in 1976 under the direction of the two Christophers. Perhaps that accounts for the quality of the recording.

The Eine Kleine on side two is also very nice, although I wouldn’t say it’s world class the way The Toy Symphony is.

FURTHER READING

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Ravel / Haydn / Acoustic Recording Series, Volume 2 – Reviewed in 2008

More of the music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

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

A good sounding audiophile record? Yes, it is possible, we would never deny it.

In fact, we actually sell some of the best ones ourselves.

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.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

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Haydn / Symphonies 100 & 101 – Reviewed in 2010

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

Reviews and Commentaries for the music of Joseph Haydn

More Classical ‘Sleeper” Recordings We’ve Discovered with Demo Disc Sound

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.

The sound is a bit distant, mid-hall we would call it, but wide and full of depth the way these vintage recordings often are.

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Haydn – Symphony No. 59 & No. 81 / Dorati

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

More Classical and Orchestral Recordings

  • This vintage Mercury Living Presence LP brings outstanding recording energy and presence to Haydn’s music with superb Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • It’s also fairly quiet at Mint Minus Minus, a grade that even our most well-cared-for vintage classical titles have trouble playing at
  • This recording is not your typical dry, bright, nasaly, upper-midrangy Merc – the sound is rich and smooth, much like a good London, with a big stage and lovely transparency
  • Dorati pushes the Festival Chamber Orchestra to dizzying heights of performance – if you find Haydn boring, try this record, it’s got the pacing and dynamic contrasts that bring the Master of the Symphony’s music back to life

These are some of 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 brings 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.)

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Haydn – 3 Quartets / The Janacek Quartet

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

Reviews and Commentaries for the music of Joseph Haydn

  • A wonderful album of chamber music with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Another one of those “sleeper” records we chance upon from time to time – it’s the very opposite of those echo-drenched recordings that some audiophiles like, with mics twenty feet away from the performers so that they are awash in “ambience.” Please.
  • If you’re looking for brilliantly performed quartet music recorded on an All Tube chain by the best engineers Decca had to offer (Gordon Parry in this case), hard to imagine you could do much better than this very disc

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Haydn / Symphonies 99-104 / Jochum / 3 LP Box Set

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

Reviews and Commentaries for the music of Joseph Haydn

Three superb sounding, PRISTINE looking Deutsche Grammophon Import LPs.

These mid ’70s DG recordings are excellent. Some of the recordings in this set sound better than others, but they are all at least very good and a number are superb.

What IS consistent in this set is the quality of the performances. You will have a hard time finding better Haydn on record. The Military Symphony (#100) and The Clock (#101) are especially good. Those also happen to be two of my favorite Haydn symphonies.

Haydn / Symphonies No. 89 & 90 / Somogyi

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

More Classical ‘Sleeper” Recordings with Demo Disc Sound

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? 

This record on side two is so amazing that we guarantee it will sound as good or better than any Golden Age classical recording you own. (Unless of course you have some of our White Hot Stamper classical pressings, in which case we guarantee it will give them quite a run for their money.)

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