This is a good month for exciting new music – I’ll be following up the previous post with reviews of the new Sonic Youth, Jim Black and Alas No Axis, Renee Jacobs Idomeneo, the new Steve Lehman disc and the latest from Kurt Elling. Right now, I want to emphasize a great reissue and bargain; Decca is re-releaseing the complete Haydn Symphonies led by Antal Dorati, and it’s available at a great price at CD Universe, less than $2 a disc.
Just as an avid reader should have a good dictionary, so should a music lover of any and all genres have a set of the Haydn Symphonies; they are a cornerstone of the last 250 years of music, laying down a structural and stylistic path for the symphonic form that survives still. And the music is simply great – pithy, transparent, witty, subtle, lively, passionate. It cleans out the ears with each listen as it refreshes our knowledge and experience of how music works. As for the actual recordings, this is a landmark project that has possibly been equalled but never surpassed. The performances are sharp, incisive and musical, with a bright sound. During the summer months I find myself listening to this set again and and again, and you will too.