£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

alternatively
CD: Crotchet

 

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
CD 1
Symphony No. 94 in G, “Surprise” (1791) [24:04]
Symphony No. 95 in C minor (1791) [20:46]
Symphony No. 97 in C (1792) [25:15]
CD 2
Symphony No. 99 in E flat (1794) [26:57]
Symphony No. 101 in D, “Clock” (1794) [29:38]
English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate
rec. Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London, England, February 1991 (CD1); May 1988 (CD2). DDD.
CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 5218552 [70:54 + 57:02]
Experience Classicsonline

During the time when the historically-informed period instrument scholars and performers were revolutionizing the modern performing practices of baroque and classical music, one conductor made a name for himself. He did this without ever completely abandoning a more old-fashioned style. That conductor was Jeffrey Tate, and his work remains compelling because the passage of years proves that Tate’s style wasn’t merely a reactionary retreat from the coming wave. It was nothing more and nothing less than the personal vision of a musician who aimed to combine courtly elegance with a thoughtful understanding of where the music is going. As such, this Classics For Pleasure reissue of five of Haydn’s London Symphonies is very much of a piece with Tate’s other recordings: Conservative, but lucidly alert.
 
Tate’s unhurried but never stolid or stiff way through the Surprise Symphony is uncommonly elegant. Compared to Georg Szell, Tate is more flexible, more smiling. Compared to Sir Colin Davis, Tate is lighter, more gleaming. Whereas Szell or Adam Fischer punch the surprise to a greater extreme in the slow movement, Tate makes his impact more fastidiously, making sure that the orchestra plays together, something not always heard on this famous chord: listen to the otherwise fine Antal Dorati recording to hear the bassoon beat everyone else to the chord by a fraction of a second. The “Menuetto” of the Surprise Symphony is revealing of Tate’s way. Dorati roughs it up a little to emphasize its peasant, ländler-like qualities. Davis fusses over its phrasing, and Szell plays it fast and clipped, like a Beethovenian scherzo. Tate is dapper as ever. He concentrates on the flow of the musical logic more naturally integrating the staccato upbeat notes that stick out in the Davis recording because of the somewhat heavy-handed tempo.
 
For overall elegance, I found myself digging all the way back to the 1929 recording Jascha Horenstein made of the work with the Berlin Philharmonic. But Tate trumps that version, too, thanks to a greater certainty on how to pace the slow sections. Horenstein, perhaps under the influence of Furtwängler in those days, paces the “Andante” more like an “Adagio”. Elsewhere, Horenstein’s natural classicism and clarity makes his rendition hold its age well in every way except recorded sound, which cannot, of course, compare to Tate’s modern digital sound. For a compromise between Szell’s thrust and Tate’s joyfulness, I would recommend the live Marlboro Festival recording from the early 1970s led by Pablo Casals except that its original coupling was a punchy and overwrought Symphony No. 95. It’s hard to find, anyway.
 
In Symphony No. 95, Szell makes more of the way the work foreshadows Beethoven. One hardly misses that element in Tate’s performance, except possibly in the “Menuetto,” where Szell’s spicy handling of the folk-music element gives the mischievous dance an almost Hungarian dash. Tate’s elegance is similar to the gleaming clarity of the RCA recording Fritz Reiner made with a studio orchestra in the early 1960s, though Tate has a touch more sparkle. Dorati is at his least persuasive in this symphony and doesn’t enter into competition.
 
Likewise, in Symphony No. 97, Szell leans toward grandeur in the first three movements, only letting an operatic sense of humor and adventure come into the “Finale.” Tate is more equable throughout, finding more bustling good nature in the first movement, and finding much more grace in the slow movement. Tate’s “Menuetto” is lighter on its feet, and his finale is witty, if not as boisterous as Szell’s. Incidentally, aside from the familiar late-1960s Szell recording available on Sony’s Essential Classics, the label’s wonderful but egregiously short-lived Masterworks Heritage series gave the first CD release to a feistier 1957 stereo recording by Szell and the Clevelanders. The sound is a little close-up, but the performance was not matched in the later remake. The first movement is more focused, and the middle movements flow better than in the later recording, while the finale is even faster, with devilish high spirits. Either way, Tate’s recording is a distinct alternative.
 
Tate and Szell interestingly diverge in unexpected ways in Symphony No. 99. Here, Tate is more operatic and mischievous in the first movement, but then unexpectedly broad and serious in the “Adagio,” which Szell flows through. Tate is lighter in the third movement, but similarly precise in the tricky “Finale.” Possibly the finest of Dorati’s recordings of later symphonies is his Symphony No. 99, as it combines more vigor than either Szell or Tate. But for the “ultimate” first movement of this work, make sure to investigate the blazing mono recording Hermann Scherchen made with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra for Westminster in the mid-1950s. Beecham is dapper in this work, but Tate matches much of the old master’s flair, while giving us a considerably more limber flexibility.
 
My favorite modern-instruments version of the Clock Symphony is Leonard Bernstein’s recording with the New York Philharmonic, a high-spirited affair which balances personality with an elegance not always associated with that conductor. Tate isn’t far off in his sparkling version, and both are considerably ahead of the sluggish Dorati and the ponderous Beecham.
 
Despite a first impression of excessive politeness in these recordings, repeated listening has revealed the subtle delights of Tate’s renditions. Direct comparisons with admired masters such as Szell, Beecham, Davis and Dorati reveals Tate showing them up more often than one might suspect. Indeed, one could say that Tate took those conductors’ traditional approach but lightened and clarified it. In the end, I can’t describe these recordings as anything less than first-class, and one hopes EMI will bring out the rest of Tate’s London Symphonies in this super-bargain series, because anyone who loves Haydn will want these charming, masterful renditions.
 
Mark Sebastian Jordan
 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.