Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Naxos are now beginning to explore the early Haydn symphonies, and these are lively, spontaneous performances from Gallois on modern instruments, only slightly marred by the recording which, though full and warm, could be slightly sharper in detail. The fast string passages are especially vivacious and enjoyable, and this CD is well-worth the asking price.

James H. North
Fanfare, March 2008

These are muscular modern-instrument performances of early Haydn, bursting with energy and high spirits. The opening Allegro molto of the C-Major Symphony will knock your socks off. Sweet strings, brilliant oboes, and potent horns tear into the music; orchestral balances are exemplary; it’s difficult to hear how many strings are employed, because of both their extraordinary unity and the reverberance of the recording venue.

Haydn’s symphonies are never routine; right from the First, they include lovely ideas surely crafted into exemplary movements. And he never fails to surprise: between two sparkling, bustling movements of No. 12, an Allegro and a Presto, comes a sublime Adagio, with a beauty and depth rivaling Gluck or Schubert. © 2008 Fanfare Read complete review

Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, January 2008

There is an energy and rhythmic vitality here that is completely irresistible… © 2017 MusicWeb International

David Hurwitz, November 2007

Patrick Gallois' contributions to Naxos' Haydn series have been some of the best, and this latest release is no exception. Symphonies 9-12 are a nicely varied lot, and rare enough on disc to make this release very useful to collectors looking to plug a gap in their Haydn discographies. The first and last have three movements (No. 9 ending with a minuet); No. 10 has the traditional four movements, and so does No. 11, but it begins with an Adagio (so-called "church-sonata form"). No. 12 features a very impressive, dramatic, minor-key Adagio that lasts some eight minutes, and has more than enough musical substance to justify its length, and the repeats.

The performances are stylish, lively, and perfectly played by the Sinfonia Finlandia, and my only criticism (once again) concerns the excessively obtrusive continuo part. Haydn didn't ask for it, the music doesn't need it, and the problem with modern performances, even purportedly "authentic" ones, is that the harpsichord player is always tempted to do too much, to fill out the part like a genuine Baroque figured bass, whereas we pretty much know that by this time any keyboard participation was likely limited to occasional bits of harmonic filler or stiffening of rhythm for ensemble purposes. This is very much a matter of individual taste, and certainly the problem, if it be such, isn't serious enough to undermine enjoyment of these well-recorded performances.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2007

We may search too deeply into the background of Haydn's early symphonies and come up with the wrong conclusions. For a start the numbering of the four works on this disc is misleading, the earliest composed being numbers 10 and 11, with the ninth coming two years later and the twelfth the year following in 1763. Indeed the ninth, in its three movement format, was possibly an overture of some kind and never intended as a symphony. It was a period in Haydn's life when he was in 'safe' employment and he could experiment in the format of symphonies, though he had still to discover the ability to create memorable thematic material. The result is music that is no more important than much composed by competent kapellmeisters of the time. The scoring is mainly for the conventional pairs of oboes, horns, strings and continuo, though the keyboard -  if there is one - is here hardly audible. Gallois uses generally urgent tempos, at times causing the articulation of the Sinfonia Finlandia's strings to become fuzzy. I suppose it is all a matter of taste, but I like a dry acoustic for early Haydn which keeps everything crisp, the Finnish recording venue being a little frisky for my liking. With so few alternatives on disc this will fill a visible gap in your collection.

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group