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Haydn: Symphony No. 94 "Surprise", Symphonie Concertante - Leonard Bernstein, Vienna Philharmonic

Haydn: Symphony No. 94 "Surprise", Symphonie Concertante - Leonard Bernstein, Vienna Philharmonic

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1. Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello, Oboe and Bassoon in B flat major, H 1 no 105

2. Haydn: Symphony no 94 in G major, H 1 no 94 "Surprise"

The delightful Sinfonia Concertante for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon is treated to all too few recordings, and has tended to arrive in collections — as with Dorati in his Haydn symphony series for Decca or with Accardo in his collection of the violin concertos on Philips. It makes a welcome coupling here for a characteristically lively account of the Surprise Symphony. Bernstein is almost always his most inspired in Haydn, and here with live recordings edited together the vitality and exuberance are very winning. Bernstein's flair is irresistible in the attention of orchestral flourish and violin recitative which opens that last movement, and I am fascinated to find that though his idea of Andante in the 6/8 middle movement of the Sinfonia is just as measured as Accardo's (and far slower than Dorati's flowing Andante), he lifts the accompaniment rhythms more persuasively, so that it quickly avoids any hint of sluggishness. Needless to say, the Vienna soloists are very stylish indeed, and achieve a very commendable ensemble for a live performance. -- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone