Robin Ticciati Conducts Joseph Haydn’s Symphonies Nos 31, 70 & 101

Performed by the SCO.  

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COMPOSERS: Haydn
LABELS: Linn
ALBUM TITLE: Joseph Haydn
WORKS: Symphonies Nos 31, 70 & 101
PERFORMER: SCO/Robin Ticciati
CATALOGUE NO: CKD 500 (hybrid CD/SACD)

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Following their much-praised Schumann symphonies, Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra turn rewardingly to three of Haydn’s. A programme all in D major, even by Haydn, could be too much of a good thing; but since these three symphonies exemplify contrasting eras of his inexhaustible inventiveness with the form, the disc proves an enriching experience alike as a whole and in parts. We have the early No. 31, an exhilarating symphony-divertimento; the middle-period No. 70, at once tautly economical and endlessly surprising; and the grand yet radiantly genial London-period Clock, No. 101. The performances, though on modern instruments, pay attention to matters of period style – every repeat observed, careful balance between parts, and in No. 31 a fortepiano adds to the Adagio’s beguilingly intertwined solo voices. The SCO is everywhere on wonderfully characterful form; its close rapport with the conductor produces music-making so appealingly fresh that such minor idiosyncrasies as Ticciati’s habitual slowing for trios in Scherzo movements make complete sense in the moment.

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More vigorously dramatised recordings of all three works can be found: for instance, the more zestful No. 31 by Adám Fischer and the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, and the Haydn of Ticciati’s two great mentors, Simon Rattle (No. 70) and Colin Davis (No. 101). All three capture the feeling of Haydn’s boundary-enlarging that I miss here. But taken on its own relaxed terms, this disc gives continuous pleasure, and its booklet contains, unusually, three admirably complementary long essays. Max Loppert