Davis conducted Haydn throughout his career, but his performances with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2011, two years before his death aged 85, had a special warmth and wisdom.
That much is evident on these live recordings of five symphonies, all composed after Haydn, released from the Esterházy court, expanded not just his international horizons but also the expressive potential of symphonic form. Davis’s tempi may be gentler than in his prime, and the LSO cannot match the lightness of period-instrument orchestras, but there is geniality and gracefulness aplenty.
Symphonies 92, 93, 97, 98, 99
(LSO Live) 2 CDs
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