I’ve said it before, I’m generally not a big fan of Haydn’s symphonies. I’m sorry, but quite often they just bore me.
However, these days we see a renaissance of Haydn’s symphonies. I’ve previously written about Ottavio Dantone’s beautiful album on Decca, which I liked a lot. In that blog post I’ve already mentioned that another Italian conductor, Giovanni Antonini, is doing an entire cycle of Haydn symphonies, called Haydn2032.
So let’s have a look at their latest release, vol. 3 in the series.
Haydn 2032 Vol. 3 – Solo e Pensoso – Giovanni Antonini, Il Giardino Armonico (Alpha Classics 2016)
In this volume, we get a colorful mix of symphonies, from very early (4) to the Sturm und Drang era of no. 64. I have absolutely no clue how Antonini decided on the order of his complete cycle, but I appreciate the variety. An album only with very early symphonies would probably not be extremely exciting.
Giovanni Antonini and Il Giardino Armonico, very much like Ottavio Dantone and his Accademia, come from baroque music.
And maybe this is really what “Papa Haydn” needs, the lightness and energy of the historically informed baroque playing style. I guess Haydn has suffered from too many years being played by orchestras that were more used to playing Beethoven and Brahms.
But when you get the Giardino Armonico’s joyful playing, an entire new planet opens up.
Not that this is the first historically informed recording of Haydn, but really this cycle promises to be outstanding.
The playing is top notch. The energy is palpable. And the relatively small size of the Giardino Armonico really lets you rediscover Haydn in a new way.
I’ll make sure to follow future releases of this cycle, and so should you. It is really worth it.
My rating: 4 stars (this is not a rating on the playing, which is 5 stars, but I’m waiting for some of the later symphonies to give the full 5 star rating).
You can find it here (Qobuz) and here (Prostudiomasters).
7 thoughts on “Do You Have To Be Italian To Conduct Haydn?”
I really enjoy Haydn’s symphonies, so I was enthusiastic to read your review of the Antonini recordings. I scrolled thru the selections available and chose to begin with one of my faves, No.22.
Uh….I couldn’t get past the burred horn attacks or the very nasally (and, I’m sure, quite authentic) oboe tone. I’ll try again, but in the meantime if you are looking for exemplary Haydn symphonies, might I suggest you try Roy Goodman and Hanover or Bruno Weil and Tafelmusik.
I’m still listening to #22 so maybe I’ll get past the tone/attack issues. But good grief it is gonna be tough.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sorry to hear that we seem to have different opinions on this one. I can relate to the problems you are having with the sound, but still very much like the overall energy and pace of the recording. In any case I really appreciate your feedback. I know and like Goodman but will check out Weil. Thanks for the recommendation!