HAYDN Symphonies Nos 101 & 103 (Järvi)

Record and Artist Details



Label: Red Seal

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 54



Catalogue Number: 19658 80741-2

19658 80741-2. HAYDN Symphonies Nos 101 & 103 (Järvi)


Composition Artist Credit
Symphony No. 101, 'Clock' Joseph Haydn, Composer
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Bremen
Paavo Järvi, Conductor
Symphony No. 103, 'Drumroll' Joseph Haydn, Composer
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Bremen
Paavo Järvi, Conductor

The secret of comedy is all about – wait for it – timing. Joseph Haydn knew this and so too does Paavo Järvi, judging by this first instalment of the ‘London’ Symphonies with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Haydn peppers his scores with pregnant pauses and Järvi, a dry wit, times them to perfection before delivering the punchlines. He can keep the straightest of faces, but his Haydn is never po-faced in the manner of some big-band conductors. I smiled throughout these performances of Nos 101, the Clock, and 103, the Drumroll.

Järvi’s Bremen ‘big band’ are pretty good mimics, too, slipping into period-instrument disguise with ease. Their playing has a lithe, nimble quality but the sharp accenting and abrasive brass and timpani punctuation underline a real period feel in these performances, particularly in the robust acoustic of the Regentenbau in Bad Kissingen. In this, they are following in the footsteps of other German orchestras on disc, particularly the SWR Stuttgart under Roger Norrington and the Heidelbergers and Thomas Fey. Revisiting those earlier accounts, Fey’s ‘London’ Symphonies aren’t quite as unbuttoned as earlier discs in their Hänssler series. Norrington, though, is at his impish best in Stuttgart, delighting in making mischief.

Both Bremen performances brim with life. After the Adagio introduction to No 101, Järvi launches a sprightly Presto, with lively antiphonal violin exchanges. In the famous Andante, the clock ticks at a purposeful pace rather than Norrington’s whirr, with clipped phrasing, all very debonair, and gorgeous flute articulation. And at 4'36", listen for one of those humorous pauses. The Minuet feels slightly heavy but the finale is taken with a swagger.

After the timpani roll that announces No 103, giving the symphony its Drumroll nickname, the Allegro con spirito is zippy. There’s more Haydnesque humour in the second movement, a wink and a smile, and some fruity horn drones. The Minuet really dances this time, as airy as a meringue, and Järvi outpaces Norrington in the lickety-split finale, a joyous explosion from a slightly rebellious timpanist to bring things to an ebullient close. This could well be a Haydn series to relish.

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