Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 Haydn
Symphony No.88 in G
Symphony No.99 in E flat
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis
Beethoven recorded in December 1975 in Brent Town Hall, Wembley, London; Haydn recorded in November 1975 in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
CD No: PENTATONE CLASSICS 5186 126 [CD/SACD Hybrid] Duration: 78 minutes Reviewed: April 2005
Colin Davis Haydn and Beethoven
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
Haydn 88 escaped me on LP, so Im delighted to catch it now and in a transfer that relays bright and true tones. The performance is beguiling and incisive. The robust drive of the first movements fast music is countered by the Largos glowing expression, and the minuets earthy steps and truculent finale (Davis refusing to rush, rightly) complete a rousing performance. The E flat symphony (the opening chord anticipating the opening of Beethovens Emperor Concerto!) is given on the largest of scales, a majestic account that includes a sublime view of the Adagio, properly slow and including the exposition repeat. How elegantly pointed is the minuet, how delicious the trio, and the finale is a joy of articulate detail: Colin Davis and the Concertgebouw truly relish Haydns wonderful invention!
The BBC Symphony Beethoven is, apparently, receiving its first-ever issue in any format. Its a spacious, trenchant traversal that is thoughtfully dovetailed (the slow introduction into the first movement proper, for example). Some listeners may find Daviss way with the music to be lethargic, but theres a satisfying shape and cogency to the music-making; as for tempos, well, Daviss expressive clarity is deeply appealing, and the tangible sound is superb.
As with all PentaTone releases, this a Hybrid CD/SACD release; on two channels it reproduces wonderfully well, and the re-mastering has been done with expert ears.