Haydn: Symphonies – No 8 in G major (Le soir); No 84 in E flat major; Violin Concerto in A major

Reviewed on Wed 23 Aug, 2017

What disconcerts somewhat is the lack of variety – timbre and dynamics – across an all-repeats-observed Le soir (Symphony No 8), an early representation of this composer’s genius.

No worries about the music here, although the Violin Concerto, however enjoyable, isn’t vintage Haydn, but what disconcerts somewhat is the lack of variety – timbre and dynamics – across an all-repeats-observed Le soir (Symphony No 8), an early representation of this composer’s genius, which comes to fruition in No 84, from the collection of Paris Symphonies, Haydn at his very greatest. Harry Christophers is less generous with repeats here (Norrington, on Sony Classical, plays the lot), and although the Handel and Haydn Society musicians bring style and commitment to proceedings, there is greater wit and twinkling eyes to this music than is revealed here, although the Minuet certainly dances with a lively step. As for the concerto, no doubt the penny-pinching textures have an ‘authentic’ quality, but a little more warmth would be welcome, but Aisslinn Nosky is shapely of phrase and poised overall, and her at times hurdy-gurdy tones are likeable, accompanied with sensitivity.
–Colin Anderson