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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 2008
Auditorio Stelio Molo, Lugano, Switzerland
Produced by Ben Connellan
Engineered by Michael Rast
Release date: February 2009
Total duration: 26 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 101 in D major 'The Clock'
first performed on 3 March 1794

Andante  [7'02]
Finale: Vivace  [4'39]

Other recordings available for download
The Hanover Band, Roy Goodman (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
No 101, completed after the ‘Military’ but premiered four weeks earlier, on 3 March, also contains a ‘characteristic’ slow movement calculated to make an instant appeal to Haydn’s London audiences. Typically, though, the Andante’s tick-tock accompaniment generates an awesome power in the G minor central episode, reinforced at the climax by battering horns and trumpets. When G major tranquillity returns, Haydn cunningly reassigns the pendulum’s ticking to flute and bassoon, above and below the violin melody, and then, after a bar’s rest, dips to the unscripted key of E flat major, an effect both poetic and amusing.

‘Nothing can be more original than the subject of the first movement’, enthused the Morning Chronicle after No 101’s premiere; ‘and having found a happy subject, no man knows like HAYDN how to produce incessant variety without once departing from it.’ As usual in the ‘London’ symphonies, the motivic seeds are sown in the slow introduction, which prefigures the 6/8 Presto’s ‘happy’ (and teasingly irregular) subject in D minor. Again, though, it is the second subject—a playful, sinuous tune, closely akin to the first—that controls the plot, both in the development and in another of Haydn’s gloriously unpredictable, expanding recapitulations.

Such is the symphonic weight and grandeur of the minuet, the longest in a Haydn symphony, that it comes as a surprise to learn that it was adapted from a minuet he had composed for mechanical organ. The trio’s pointedly naïve flute solo is accompanied by a notorious ‘wrong harmony’ joke which the strings then rectify on the repeat. Nineteenth-century editors with a musical humour bypass thought the joke must be a misprint and duly ‘corrected’ it. Opening with a mellow, songful theme, the finale is a sonata rondo at once intensely concentrated (much of the action is fuelled by its first three notes) and exhilaratingly free in design. After a ferocious ‘developing’ episode in D minor, the key of the symphony’s slow introduction, the recapitulation takes the form of a shimmering pianissimo fugato that Mendelssohn surely remembered in his Octet.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

Other albums featuring this work
'Haydn: Symphonies Nos 101 & 102' (CDH55127)
Haydn: Symphonies Nos 101 & 102
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55127  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  

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