Haydn: 2032 No. 2 – Il Filosofo

Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini
75:18
Alpha 671
W. F. Bach Symphony in F FK67, Haydn Symphonies 22, 46 & 47

This second instalment in Alpha’s projected complete symphonies recording in time for the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birthday features three striking works from the master and another by Bach’s oldest son. With 44222 strings, pairs of oboes (or cor anglais in symphony 22, whose subtitle gives the CD its name), horns, bassoon and harpsichord, the band is well balanced and all of the voices are clearly audible in the remarkably clean and well captured acoustic.

Antonini lets the music speak for itself and there is never any audible hint of micromanagement. Each of the Haydn works has its own distinctive feature – 46 is in the frightening key of B major, 47 features a musical palendrome and 22 reverses the order of the first two movements – and they work well as a balanced programme. I really like the idea that each release in the series will not be devoted exclusively to his music though; so, as well as offering the finest period instrument performances, they will also contextualize it. I look forward to more discoveries along the way.

Brian Clark