Haydn: Symphony No. 89; Symphony No. 91; Overture to La vera costanza

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LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: Symphony No. 89; Symphony No. 91; Overture to La vera costanza
PERFORMER: Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra/Adam Fischer
This record is part of a projected complete set recorded in the Great Hall (Haydnsaal) of the Esterházy Castle in Eisenstadt with Adam Fischer conducting the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra. It is a good series on present-day instruments and one of its advantages is the ample booklet notes by Geraint Lewis, but I think 53 minutes is not a very generous length for a CD nowadays: they could easily have put Symphonies Nos. 89, 90 and 91 on one record and omitted the otherwise charming but truncated concert version of the overture to La vera costanza. The sound of the hall, the largest Haydn ever worked in, is rather boomy and this makes the sound slightly unfocused. For those who want the music on period instruments, there is Sigiswald Kuijken and La Petite Bande for No. 89 (coupled with Nos. 88 & 92) and No. 91 (coupled with No. 90) and a perhaps more spirited No. 91 (coupled with No. 90 minus the trumpets and timpani) with the Hanover Band and Roy Goodman. For rival versions on modern instruments there is the classic version with Dorati (both works) and separately No. 89 with Karl Böhm (surprisingly good) and a nice performance of No. 91 with Colin Davis (with No. 92). HC Robbins Landon