The Classical Tradition

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COMPOSERS: Haydn,Mozart
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: Symphonies by Haydn and Mozart
PERFORMER: London Philharmonic & Royal Philharmonic Orchestras/ Sir Thomas Beecham
CATALOGUE NO: EMI 909 9462 (10 CDS)

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The Classical Tradition is a great place to start. It’s Beecham’s Haydn and Mozart, pre-war with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), and post-war in Paris with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). Beecham’s Mozart is often surprisingly sprightly – he reminds me of Charles Mackerras in some of the Symphonies’ outer movements – and lovingly shaped, even when it’s not moving quite as briskly as you might wish. The second movement of Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto with Gioconda de Vito in 1949 is beautifully poised, but so slow, with a pretty steady Rondo finale, although de Vito’s sweet sound comes through the mono recording well. Beecham conducts the London Symphonies with real affection for Haydn’s wit, and The Seasons has a fine 1950s cast led by soprano
Elsie Morrison. Andrew McGregor