Symphonies Nos. 103, 'Drum Roll', 104, 'London', Symphony No. 95.
Collegium Musicum 90 Richard
Chandos Chaconne CHAN0655
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These are invigorating performances of three inspired Haydn symphonies. The
disc bodes well for this projected period instrument cycle. Hickox comes
up against sturdy competition in the form of big band Haydn sets such as
Fischer on Nimbus, Davis on Philips not to mention Dorati on Decca and the
ever charismatic Beecham on EMI. However Hickox's use of period instruments
pays real dividends, just sample the thrilling drum roll opening in the First
Movement of No. 103. The biting rhythmic Finales also gain in presence and
definition. If Davis 'London' Symphony carries greater swagger and more panache
from the Concertgebouw, then Hickox's is the more true to heart with his
bouncy rhythmic vitality and alert players true to every nuance. My favourite
remains this symphony and Hickox stands here alongside the previous great
conductors such as Bohm and Walter.
Chandos' recording is splendidly rich and resonant and takes pride of place
amongst the various competitors although Nimbus' sound for Adam Fischer is
also excellent. I look forward to further releases in this series and meantime,
I recommend this volume with wholehearted vigour.