Related Reviews
RBB Kultur Radio
'Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra produce a convincing, vitally vital recording...'
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Gramophone
'On LP, it's a sensation. The additional space for mastering depth afforded by the 45rpm format yields an uncompromised dynamic range. Essential listening.'
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Huffington Post
'This superb, digitally-sourced vinyl is a rare opportunity to hear Haydn full out. With the 40 members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra playing like the hand-picked virtuosos they are, the big explosions sound wonderful, especially with the volume turned way up. And in every measure, the instrumental detail is so precise and intense, and played so beautifully, that the overall effect is just the way Haydn must have heard them.'
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Audio Asylum
40 under 40: 'This is not your father's Haydn, but so far I am loving this.'
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Audio Beat
4 Stars
'Be that as it may, Ticciati's interesting interpretation and a zesty performance from the SCO shine through.'
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Hifi & Records
'A wonderful, extraordinarily fresh and crisp interpretation...'
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The Herald Scotland
Top 10 Scottish Classical Albums of 2015: #3 spot
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Bay Area Reporter
2015's best in classical recordings: 'Simply the best I've heard.'
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Audiophilia
Best Recordings of 2015
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'The SCO is everywhere on wonderfully characterful form; its close rapport with the conductor produces music-making so appealingly fresh...the disc proves an enriching experience alike as a whole and in parts.'
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Colorado Public Radio
Favorite Releases Of 2015: 'Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra deliver wonderfully fresh and bold readings of all three.'
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MDR Figaro
„Die Musiker des Scottish Chamber Orchestra spielen, "historisch-informiert", mit klarem, transparentem Klang und dosiertem Vibrato.”
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MusicWeb International
'On Linn Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra excel with fresh and responsive accounts of this well chosen trio.'
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Classical Source
'These performances are carefully thought out: Ticciati interprets the music in a personal manner and also with character.'
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Sinfini Music
4 Stars
'The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, playing on period instruments under Robin Ticciati's direction, plays with subtlety and vim, with particularly fine work from the natural horns in their prominent place in No.31.'
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BR Klassik
,,Mit spielerischer Leichtigkeit, federnder Eleganz, sprechender Artikulation und natürlicher Phrasierung bringt Robin Ticciati Haydns geistreiche Satzkunst auf den Punkt.''
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Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
'It's a cliche to say that listening to these Haydn symphonies is like hearing them for the first time, but that description is apt here.'
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De Volkskrant
4 Stars
'De jonge Britse dirigent Robin Ticciati en het Scottish Chamber Orchestra blazen er hun geïnspireerde adem overheen...Fijne cd...'
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'The partnership between Ticciati and the SCO has blossomed into one of the most exciting in music, and I don't just mean in Britain.'
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The Irish Times
4 Stars
'Three distinctive Haydn symphonies, all in the key of D, all given taut, bracing, urgently propelled performances.'
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Classical CD Choice
'Ticciati’s performance is exhilarating yet never rushed…The soloists of the SCO rise fully to the opportunities offered to them with playing of the utmost grace and refinement…'
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The Telegraph
5 Stars
One Of The Best Classical Albums Of 2015: '...the brilliance, finesse, freshness and bravura of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra are recommendation enough.'
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BBC Radio Scotland 'Classics Unwrapped'
'I love it that much I’m playing you some more. Fantastic ending to that final movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 31 in D major.'
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The Arts Desk
'All thought-provoking and highly enjoyable - Ticciati's best disc so far.'
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De Telegraaf
5 Stars
'A sparkling recording.'
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The Scotsman
5 Stars
'...a trilogy of D major performances that truly capture the spirited essence of Haydn.'
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The Herald Scotland
'It is a great package, recorded with the care and precision we expect from producer Philip Hobbs, and with a thought-provoking essay by American musicologist Richard Taruskin that complements the rigor of Ticciati's approach.'
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Classic FM
Drive Featured Album: 'The SCO under their dynamic young conductor are clearly relishing the vivacity and pathos of this under-performed music.'
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The Observer
4 Stars
'...cleverly chosen and done with such brimming fizz and fun...'
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Gramophone
'This is a valuable collection, finely recorded (Philip Hobbs) and beautifully packaged.'
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BBC Radio 3 ‘Breakfast’
‘…rather illuminatingly programmes three symphonies in D major from different stages of Haydn’s career…bracing, fresh Haydn.’
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BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'
'Nice horns…They have a lovely feel for the style of early, more-Baroque kind of Haydn…with plenty of punch, character and colour. A fine recording.'
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HRAudio
5 Stars
'Robin Ticciati's first recording of Haydn Symphonies is a triumphant success. Symphony No. 31 known as the ' Hornsignal' opens with some of the most thrilling natural horn sounds imaginable from the four superb players led by virtuoso Alec Frank-Gemmill. Ticciati's performance is exhilarating yet never rushed, and in each of the four movements the tempi he has chosen seem ideal to allow the music to breathe with unforced naturalness.'
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MusicWeb International
'The SCO play as well as they did for Sir Charles Mackerras, whose performances of the late Mozart symphonies have become modern classics of the recorded repertoire, while Robin Ticciati has a sure sense of the music.'
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All Music
4½ Stars
'Ticciati achieves a fusion of modern and historical performance not quite like any other achieved elsewhere, with vividly sculpted internal lines, a good deal of energy, and a great feel for the humor and sparkle of the late Symphony No. 101. This is a performance that demands attention.'
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Pizzicato
Supersonic Award: ,,Gefühl absoluter Perfektion''
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The Sunday Times
'Ticciati's decision to programme three symphonies in D major from different stages of Haydn's career is a clever and attractive one.'
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The Guardian
4 Stars
Live Review: ‘exhilarating Haydn’
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The Telegraph
4 Stars
Live Review: 'Terrific...The sound was vivid and clear, and the timpani made a joyous rhythmic clatter...'
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The Telegraph
4 Stars
Live Review: 'highly convincing'
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The Guardian
Live Review: '[Ticciati] always gets the charismatic best from this orchestra.'
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Robin Ticciati & SCO - Haydn: Symphonies 31, 70 & 101 - Presto Classical


18 September 2015
Presto Classical
David

When my colleague David interviewed Robin Ticciati a year ago regarding his recording of Schumann's symphonies, his responses gave me the impression of a deeply thoughtful musician who takes time to ponder exactly what he wants from every bar. This quality is very much evident in a new disc of three Haydn symphonies with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

First up is Symphony No. 31, known as the Horn Signal. As you might expect from the nickname, the horns are fairly prominent! Although it wasn't the first time Haydn had written for a quartet of horns (Symphony No. 13 also has four rather than the usual pair), they are very much in the spotlight here, not least their robust call to attention in the first bar. The use of natural horns adds a piquancy that you can't really replicate with modern, valved horns. However, they're certainly not blasting all the way through, and Ticciati has clearly thought about when to let them dominate and when they should be more in the background.

He also varies their dynamics on repeats, so whereas a phrase might be played forte the first time round, on the repeat it is heard pianissimo. Speaking of repeats, I should note that Ticciati is fastidious about observing them: not only are first-movement exposition repeats included, but also those normally ignored such as the second halves of movements. The potential danger with this is sheer Haydn fatigue, but luckily this is completely avoided by the inventiveness of Ticciati's interpretation, aided by some tasteful ornamentation. Furthermore, Ticciati makes interesting choices of articulation; for instance, a flute phrase may be tongued the first time but slurred later on.

Although a modern-instrument ensemble, the players apply aspects of period performance practice, not least in the strings, where vibrato is kept to a minimum and used as an expressive device rather than a default position. This is most apparent in the slow movement, which includes a florid solo violin part, played mainly straight by leader Henja Semmler but with vibrato coming into play on long notes. There's also some wonderful use of fortepiano continuo, subtly improvising along to the strings. It could easily have become annoying, but its sparing and sensitive use is just right, usually in the background but occasionally filling in some semiquavers to great effect: towards the end of the movement where a solo cello joins the violin, it's almost like a miniature piano trio has arrived, or perhaps a smaller-scale version of Beethoven's Triple Concerto. It's a delightful touch that raises this recording to another level of enjoyment.

I must also single out the penultimate, seventh variation of the last movement, which has an extended solo for violone (essentially a double bass viol), these days performed on a double bass. Principal bass Nikita Naumov does a phenomenal job of performing with a Baroque-like, ‘antique' flavour to his sound.

I've spent a lot of time on this symphony, mainly because it displays everything I admire about this disc, but that's not to imply that the other two symphonies are any less successful. In Symphony No. 70, the addition of trumpets makes for a blazing sound, and the timpani have a pleasing thwack to them. Ticciati's attention to dynamics is still on display, with the extreme pianissimo of the symphony's penultimate bars contrasting with the final fortissimo.

The disc concludes with a splendid reading of Symphony No. 101 (one of the London symphonies, also known as The Clock). There are some energetically springy rhythms on offer in the first movement, and some nicely fruity bassoons as they perform their ticking quavers that earn the symphony its nickname. As it happens, all three symphonies are in the same key, and I was worried that I would be a bit fed up with D major by the end of the disc, but luckily this never became an issue. I understand there will be a second release next year featuring some more of the London symphonies, and I can't wait to hear them!


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Robin TicciatiRobin Ticciati
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Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 31, 70 & 101Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 31, 70 & 101
Haydn: Symphony No. 101 LPHaydn: Symphony No. 101 LP