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Hyperion Records

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The Thames at Westminster by William James (1730-1780)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDS44371/4
Recording details: May 2008
Auditorio Stelio Molo, Lugano, Switzerland
Produced by Ben Connellan
Engineered by Michael Rast
Release date: February 2009
Total duration: 25 minutes 9 seconds

'The Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana is finely honed and the rapport is evident, with unfailingly fine and musicianly playing' (Gramophone)

'Performances of the symphonies that are ultra-clean, pleasingly joyous and straightforwardly entertaining' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The orchestra is very well caught by the engineers, with ample bloom and no unnecessary or false highlighting of instruments. There is an excellent booklet by the ever-reliable Haydn expert Richard Wigmore and, best of all, Hyperion are offering the set at budget price, a little over £20.00 for four discs. I also like the fact that the works are all laid out in numbered order across the discs, unlike Bruggen and Davis, where the sequence is split up for some reason. The Davis cycle is cheaper and still an obvious rival but the sound is not as rich or detailed, and the Bruggen appears unavailable at present. It is a very crowded market but I reckon Hyperion deserve to do well with this one' (MusicWeb International)

'Sa splendide intégrale des Londoniennes … ces interprétations dégagent une extraordinaire vitalité' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

Symphony No 97 in C major
first performed on 3 (or 4) May 1792

Other recordings available for download
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Symphony No 97 was Haydn’s final offering for Salomon’s 1792 season, premiered on 3 (or possibly 4) May. Together with Mozart’s ‘Jupiter’, this is the most imposing in a long line of ceremonial, trumpet-and-drum-festooned Austrian symphonies in C major. The martial splendour of the first movement, with its battering tonic-and-dominant fanfares, is offset by a charming rustic waltz of a ‘second subject’. This is also one of Haydn’s subtlest designs. The surprisingly subdued slow introduction is framed by a haunting cadence on a diminished seventh chord. Haydn binds the introduction closely to the main Vivace by bringing back the expressive cadence at the very end of the exposition. After a development that includes a contrapuntal trio for flute and oboes against whispered fanfare fragments in the strings—an astonishing, original sonority—and a drastically compressed recapitulation, the ambiguous diminished seventh pivots the music poetically to E flat, necessitating a long coda that gradually restores the home key of C major.

As in Symphony No 94, Haydn writes a theme-and-variation slow movement (here Adagio ma non troppo) that subjects an instantly appealing melody to dramatic transformations, most spectacularly in the third variation, where the violins create a whining, metallic sonority by playing sul ponticello (‘on the bridge’). Even more extraordinary is the coda, with its keening flute and oboe above faintly ominous string tremolos. Uniquely in these symphonies, the minuet and rustic-dance trio both have fully written-out repeats that present their themes in ever-new orchestral guises. The swaggering minuet subsequently becomes almost dainty; and the trio culminates in a delicious passage, like a transfigured village band, with a single violin (marked ‘Salomon solo ma piano’) playing the melody an octave above the orchestral violins. By 1792 Haydn’s London public were prepared for the élan and inspired theatricality of his sonata-rondo finales. No 97’s adds an aggressive brilliance and harmonic and contrapuntal dexterity of its own, climaxing in a coda that comically stutters to a halt before erupting in a final peal of C major.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

Other albums featuring this work
'Haydn: Symphonies Nos 92-3 & 97-9' (LSO0702)
Haydn: Symphonies Nos 92-3 & 97-9
MP3 £9.25FLAC £9.25ALAC £9.25 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz £13.90ALAC 24-bit 96 kHz £13.90 LSO0702  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

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