Terrific Haydn Program from Levi and the Israel Phil

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

This is “big band” Haydn played and conducted in the most stylish, unaffected, and enjoyable way. The program itself is delightful: Haydn’s hilarious, six-movement “Distracted” Symphony No. 60, his most popular piano concerto, with its gorgeous slow movement and Hungarian finale elegantly played by Maya Tamir, all capped by his big-hearted, very last symphony. You can play the entire disc at a sitting without for a second being bored or suffering from a lapse in concentration. It’s all superbly done, with the spontaneity of a live concert, which this was, albeit one in which the audience is admirably silent.

Highlights include Symphony No. 60’s madcap fourth movement and the dreamy, ensuing adagio; the slow movement of the Piano Concerto, where Haydn suddenly jumps forward into the Romantic period with a flowing sequence for solo and orchestra; and the “London” Symphony’s finale, with its whirlwind runs in the violins. Levi hits all of Haydn’s jokes (the re-tuning in 60’s finale, for instance) without exaggeration, but with perfect timing and crisp rhythms–just what the music needs for its proper effect. Granted, the trumpets could be more prominent in “period instrument” fashion, but with excellent sonics and so much to enjoy, you’ll find nothing to quibble about. A truly unexpected pleasure.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: None for this coupling

    Symphony No. 60 "Il Distratto"; Piano Concerto in D major; Symphony No. 104 "London"

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