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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: September 2007
Auditorio Stelio Molo, Lugano, Switzerland
Produced by Ben Connellan
Engineered by Michael Rast
Release date: February 2009
Total duration: 21 minutes 59 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 93 in D major
first performed on 17 February 1792

Largo cantabile  [5'34]

Other recordings available for download
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis (conductor)
The Hanover Band, Roy Goodman (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
‘Novelty of idea, agreeable caprice, and whim combined with all Haydn’s sublime and wonten grandeur, gave additional consequence to the soul and feelings of every individual present’, rhapsodized The Times after the premiere of No 93, on 17 February 1792. Haydn immediately evokes ‘the sublime’ in the slow introduction, when the music slips from a resounding fortissimo D major to a strange and secretive E flat major. This ‘flatward’ tendency finds an echo in deflections to flat keys in each of the following movements. The Allegro assai is built on two symmetrical cantabile melodies of great charm—guarantors of the symphony’s popularity. The first subject was even appropriated as an American Protestant hymn! There is a typically intricate contrapuntal development, fuelled by a fragment of the waltz-like ‘second subject’. The Largo cantabile is one of Haydn’s original fusions of sonata, rondo and variations. It begins with a delicately soulful theme on solo strings and continues with a parody of a Handelian French overture. Towards the end, after a ruminative oboe solo, the music becomes becalmed, only for the mood to be punctured by a gigantic bassoon fart—a joke whose Till Eulenspiegel crudeness more than matches the ‘surprise’ in No 94.

The minuet, drawing maximum capital from its first three notes, is one of Haydn’s most muscular and theatrical, while its trio sets aggressive military tattoos on wind and brass against the strings’ mysterious excursions into distant keys. There is no trace here of the stylized rusticity found in all the other trios of the ‘London’ symphonies. After the premiere Haydn informed Frau von Genzinger that No 93’s finale was ‘too weak’ in relation to the opening movement and needed altering. Whether or not he ever did revise it, the finale as we know it is one of the wittiest and most powerful he ever wrote, culminating (after an ostentatiously self-important general pause) in a coda of rowdy hilarity. With a gleeful display of rhythmic and harmonic trickery, Haydn repeatedly thwarts expectation of a full recapitulation. He also plays his characteristic games with the main theme’s upbeat quavers, at one point setting the thunderous power of the full orchestra against a lone cello.

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
'Haydn: Symphonies Nos 93-95' (CDH55126)
Haydn: Symphonies Nos 93-95
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55126  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Last few CD copies remaining  

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