Mstation Classical Reviews

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Mon, 02 Oct 2006


Joseph Haydn, symphonies 68, 93 - 104
Royal Concertbouw Orchestra
Nikolas Harnoncourt
5 CD's, Warner Classics

Nikolas Harnoncourt became the heir to big draw conductors like von Karajan but as the quote below shows with a quite different attitude.

"For me," says Harnoncourt, "to play together and in equal pitch is not a goal. For me, the rehearsal starts with the content of a piece - what it means, how it can change the listener. I was an orchestral musician for 17 years and what I missed was the question 'why?'. I wanted to know why Bruno Walter asked me to play like this . . . In those days, musicians were slaves, but my musicians are partners and they have to know about the conception. This is my way of working." (1)
and ...
"They used to order a musician to play his part alone," he relates, "and I have never seen anything less than terror when this happened. Two players, friends of mine, suffered a complete nervous breakdown and were dragged away to mental hospitals for electric-shock therapy. I know how dangerous it is to work with musicians. I would never be the cause of anything like that." (1)

And so we have 5 discs here of sympathetically played Haydn from a very good orchestra - avery pleasant few hours, all in all. (Baron K)

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