Haydn; Yun

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COMPOSERS: Haydn; Yun
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Haydn; Yun
WORKS: Symphonies Nos 39 & 45 (Farewell) – Haydn; Chamber Symphony No. 1 – Yun
PERFORMER: Munich Chamber Orchestra/Alexander Liebreich
CATALOGUE NO: 476 6188

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There’s vigour in these well-recorded performances: in fact at the opening of the 39th Symphony, I was concerned that the tempo was a little too fast – almost exactly the same speed as the supposedly faster finale – and that some of the detail was lost. The Munich CO plays modern instruments, but the players are careful with vibrato, and Alexander Liebreich encourages some shapely phrasing in the slow movement. In contrast to the whirlwind opening of this Symphony, the beginning of the Farewell seems on the stately side, and later, in the central development, the music has a tendency to sit down. But the Adagio and Minuet are done with poise, and the finale is well paced, as the players leave the stage one by one. The Chamber Symphony, composed in 1987, comes from towards the end of Isang Yun’s life, when he was established in Berlin. With what Nicholas Slonimsky described as euphonious dissonance, the music has some rich string writing, and multiple, sweeping melodic lines. It’s not the sort of modern music to scare the horses, and the balance between the lyrical and the dramatic is well-judged by the composer and the performers: in many ways this is the most wholly successful part of the CD. Martin Cotton