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Stephen Francis Vasta
MusicWeb International, June 2011

Flautist-turned-conductor Patrick Gallois, in these Haydn performances, draws from the best aspects of two distinct styles of performance. In doing so he strikes a convincing middle ground. The solid, forward instrumental sonority suggests a modified version of the old-fashioned, big-orchestra manner, but he guides it with the lightness and purposeful phrasing favoured by the period-practice fraternity.

Based on the booklet photograph, the Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä is a modern-instrument ensemble of chamber proportions. Their forthright, clean sound, however, suggests a pared-down symphony orchestra rather than the more anemic “historical” groups. The string tone is handsome; the horns, in their exposed moments, are full-bodied and firm. Attacks and accents are incisive, and the sonority is weighty and grounded.

The twelve-minute C major symphony has just three movements, lacking a slow movement. In the bustling outer movements, Gallois contrasts the vigorously rhythmic elements of the texture against the legato motifs. This brings out the variety of the sonority though the secondary material could have been more subdued in spots. He phrases the central Menuet with real elegance.

Both the other works are in the standard four-movement format, with the slow movement second. These performances display similar strengths. Gallois is, again, particularly good in the propulsive outer movements: even in the A major’s sturdy, big-boned Vivace e con spirito, the momentum doesn’t flag in the lyrical phrases. The finales are busy, but not helter-skelter. That of the D major has a good sense of weight, with room for all the little notes in the rondo variations to speak clearly. The A major is jocund and playful and draws thrust and drive from the chugging chords in the development. The inner movements evince plenty of character as well, with the D major’s Andantino e cantabile maintaining its initial dignified, stately demeanour as it moves through unsettled minor keys.

The sound is pleasing, though perhaps not quite realistic: the close, detailed orchestral image sounds out of sync with the longish hall resonance, though the latter undoubtedly helps fill out the ensemble sound. The writer of the booklet note doesn’t always seem to have been hearing quite the same symphonies, or perhaps performances, that we’ve got on the disc. Still, if you want musically informed performances played by a polished modern orchestra, this disc is sure to please and at minimal cost.

Dan Davis, August 2009

…a fine recording of Haydn’s symphonies 25, 42, and 65, with Patrick Gallois conducting the Sinfonia Finlandia, especially as Gallois split the first and second violins to left and right, respectively, liberating the high-strings sound from the left speaker and adding a special dimension that clarified the string lines. Though most Haydn symphonies lack an extreme dynamic range, this recording accurately conveyed the gradations of mezzo-forte wherein most of the music resides; even casual listening revealed that the horns were well back toward the rear of the stage.

David Hurwitz, October 2008

Haydn's average is still better than most composers at their best, and so it is with these three little-known symphonies. ...The performances here are all aptly vivacious, with lively rhythms and excellent ensemble. ...If you are looking for these particular works, don't hesitate. Read full review at ClassicsToday

Tim Perry
MusicWeb International, October 2008

There is no such thing as a dull Haydn symphony.  …The Finnish orchestra play with polish and energy under their music director, the French flautist-turned-conductor, Patrick Gallois.  They employ a harpsichord continuo—their only audible concession to period performance practice—in Symphony No.25, but dispense with it in the later symphonies—a good decision. Gallois projects the high spirits and good humour of the music.  … this is an enjoyable disc on its own merits.  At the price, it is certainly worth considering.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2008

With this final volume in Naxos’s complete recording of the Haydn symphonies, we come to the end of a musical pilgrimage that stretches back twenty years, and along the way has gathered considerable critical acclaim.

Only the third time it has been achieved on disc, it began in the Czech Republic in warm sounds of the Capella Istropolitana with five discs of the late symphonies. Moving to the early symphonies from England’s Northern Chamber Orchestra, Hungary’s Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra filled in much of the works between, the inspired Toronto Chamber Orchestra eventually returning us to the early scores. It has been left to the Sinfonia Finlandia Jyvaskyla under its French music director, Patrick Gallois, to place the final piece in the jigsaw. This use of a range of ensembles has enabled the series to replicate the very differing orchestral forces that were at Haydn’s disposal through his life. The Finnish ensemble is quite weighty, the three symphonies probably composed in the 1770s when Haydn was enjoying his time in the service of the Esterházys. They all contain an element of drama, the Sixty-fifth probably starting life as a Sinfonia used as an introduction to a dramatic presentation at Esterháza. Gallois finds the serious import by employing a wide range of dynamics, and with particular emphasis on the lower strings. This view is much helped by the sound created by the engineers, my sole regret being the reticence of the harpsichord in the Twenty-Fifth. The whole series will shortly be available in a boxed set that is not to be missed.

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