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Want to be surprised by No. 94, the "Surprise"? Minkowski borrows a joke from the Hoffnung Music Festivals of 50 years ago: When it is time for the famous fortissimo, the orchestra delivers exactly -- nothing. And that really is a surprise, although not the one Haydn intended. So Minkowski plays the lead-in to the "surprise" again, and this time the orchestra shouts instead of playing. Only on the third go-round does the music proceed as expected.
Care for a "Drum Roll"? The ones in the first movement of No. 103 sound like something produced by Donner in Das Rheingold. The delicious little harpsichord solo at the end of No. 98 is intact, but this is the only use of a harpsichord in the set -- apparently Minkowski does not consider the instrument desirable except in this single place.
Even less extreme movements are odd, such as minuets generally taken as fast scherzos with much slower trios. And yet everything is exceptionally well played, and the more straightforward readings (including Nos. 93, 101 and 104) are top-notch. This may be the quirkiest "London" set available, and that is apparently just what Minkowski wanted. -- Mark J. Estren -- The Washington Post - June 29, 2010
I purchased this set of recordings following a program by Graham Abbot (Australian musician and broadcaster) in which he examined these 12 Symphonies and suggested that these... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Lyric
Sorry, I am not able to write my review in English.
Cette intégrale des Symphonies Londoniennes a été l'objet de critiques très divergentes,... Read more
There are two sucker punches here: the ' Surprise' from 94 and the 'improvisation' at the commencement of 103. The former, it has to be said, wears thin rapidly. Read morePublished on April 21, 2011 by Bernard Michael O'Hanlon