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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
Six quartets: six works that are key to understanding what Joseph Haydn brought to western music. This effort by the Quatuor Hanson is particularly successful because they are past masters in constructing and expressing the soul of this subtle art. And what's more, they bring it off with a fascinating level of instrumental skill. Listening to this piece, we have to bow down once again before the genius of a composer who, along with Boccherini, invented a new genre and immediately studded it with masterpieces of staggering quality. Judiciously picked out from among Haydn's vast corpus, these six quartets are touching both in their expressiveness and in the perfection of their writing. Not a single note out of place, a perfect balance of four voices and inspired right from the first moment up to the incomplete closing Opus 77, which was a contemporary of Beethoven's first Quartets, Op. 18 – works that betray the lessons their writer learned from his master. More than two hundred years after his death, Haydn has only just found recognition as one of the greats, although he had been accorded that status during his life. But his works for keyboards, the symphonies, the oratorios, and to a lesser extent, the operas, speak in his favour. More than a forerunner, Haydn is a founder, a genius whose influence was felt by those who came after him, foremost amongst whom Beethoven and Schubert. This splendid album puts him (back) in his rightful place. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released January 17, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Chamber Music - Released May 1, 2020 | BIS

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The Chiaroscuro Quartet made their first appearance on BIS Records with acclaimed recordings of Joseph Haydn’s "Sun" Quartets, Op. 20, described in "The Strad" as ‘period-instrument performances of the utmost subtlety and refinement’. The Op. 20 Quartets are widely regarded as a mile-stone in the history of the genre. When Chiaroscuros now return to Haydn, it is with his last complete set of quartets, begun in 1796 when he was 64 years old. The Six String Quartets, Op. 76, form one of the most renowned of Haydn's sets of quartets, and carry the stamp of their maker: No other set of eighteenth-century string quartets is so diverse, or so unconcerned with the norms of the time. In the words of Haydn’s friend and contemporary Charles Burney ‘they are full of invention, fire, good taste and new effects’. On the present disc, the first of two, we hear the first three quartets, including the ‘Fifths’ Quartet (No. 2) so named after the falling perfect fifths with which it begins. The most famous of the set – and possibly of all Haydn quartets – is No. 3, however: the ‘Emperor’ quartet with its second movement: a set of variations on the ‘Kaiserlied’ which Haydn had recently composed to the greater glory of the Austrian Emperor Franz II. © BIS Records
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Symphonies - Released November 1, 2016 | Nimbus Records

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Classical - Released October 9, 2020 | Alpha

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Several years ago, Giovanni Antonini and the Alpha Classics label set an exciting objective: to create a complete collection of Haydn’s 104 symphonies, mirroring the works of composers from different eras so as to highlight their relevance today. This monumental edition should be completed in 2032, marking the tercentenary of the Austro-Hungarian composer’s birth.The project is gradually being enriched by other productions celebrating Haydn’s genius. The oratorio Die Schöpfung (The Creation) is a major part of his catalogue. Haydn was inspired after hearing an oratorio by Handel in London during a large commemorative concert. The event was significant because there were few early works being performed at the time, and the large orchestra and choir (nearly 1000 strong) made a great impression on Haydn, being unaccustomed to such large numbers.
The result was The Creation, a spirited oratorio that required a colossal amount of preparatory work and left him shaky. But it was worth the effort. The work was a huge success and has been performed ever since. Giovanni Antonini reveals a very lively chamber version with an excellent instrumental ensemble, a perfectly balanced vocal trio with soprano Anna Lucia Richter, tenor Maximilian Schmitt and baritone Florian Boesch, not forgetting the participation of the wonderful Bavarian Radio Choir.This new recording ranks among the highest of a long series of Haydn’s masterpiece. It’s thanks to the radiant performances, where the love of music blends with the simple contemplation of nature. A perfect recording. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonies - Released April 21, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released August 19, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released February 24, 2017 | Evidence

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or
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Symphonic Music - Released November 10, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Haydn2032, the ambitious project of recording the complete symphonies of Haydn, has been placed from the start under the artistic direction of Giovanni Antonini, with two ensembles, Il Giardino Armonico, which made the first four volumes, and the Kammerochester Basel, to which this fifth volume and the next two are assigned. Another characteristic of the edition is that each time Haydn is set in perspective with another composer; here it is Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92): ‘Kraus was the first man of genius that I met. Why did he have to die? It is an irreparable loss for our art. The Symphony in C minor he wrote in Vienna specially for me is a work which will be considered a masterpiece in every century’, said Haydn in 1797. Though he long remained forgotten after his death, Kraus made an active contribution to the movement of poetic renewal called ‘Sturm und Drang’ or ‘Geniezeit’ (time of genius) because such artists as the young Goethe broke free of all tradition to follow their hearts alone. When Haydn called Kraus homme de génie, in French, he probably had this context in mind. The two composers had met in Vienna in 1783. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released June 19, 2020 | Accent

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Composed in 1761, the year Joseph Haydn became the court musician for the Esterházy Family (with whom he stayed for more than thirty years), Symphonies No. 6, 7 and 8 form a unique trilogy in the history of music and are, according to musicologist Marc Vignal, Haydn's first masterpieces in this field and probably even for symphonies in general. Haydn put all his theory and know-how into the compositions, at a time when he was still being tested by the Prince, having to meet overwhelming specifications that would give any musician today nightmares. In these three gems of concise, virtuosic composing, Haydn distributes solos to all the musicians of the orchestra, including the double bass and bassoon, instruments which were not accustomed to this kind of exercise. It is a fiesta of sonic garlands, as found in the ancient baroque "concerto grosso", alternating with dark, deeply moving passages. The subtitles, the only ones Haydn himself gave to his symphonies, "Le Matin", "Le Midi", "Le Soir", were suggested and even commissioned by Prince Paul Anton to describe an allegory of the "Hours of the Day" and, above all, the three stages of life. Recorded in 2019 in the splendid Apollo Hall of Eszterháza Castle in Fertöd, where Haydn wrote many symphonies (though not these ones), this recording by the Orfeo Orchestra of Budapest - not to be confused with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra - conducted by György Vashegyi obviously has an undeniably authentic feel. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released February 22, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Since the 2015-2016 season Giovanni Antonini has been the "principal guest conductor" of the Basel Chamber Orchestra (Kammerorchester Basel, recreated in 1984 in the spirit of the first Basler Kammerorchester which was founded by the patron and Swiss conductor Paul Sacher). He is working with them on important discographic projects, such as the complete Beethoven symphonies (Sony Classical) which are proving a great success with the press; and the "Haydn 2032" project, a recording of the complete hundred and seven symphonies by Joseph Haydn, to mark the composer’s 300th birthday. Volume 7 begins with the extraordinary Symphony No. 67 in F major. This astonishing work showcases its author's boundless inventive faculty, bringing together an overpowering joie de vivre with passages of pure chamber music; the evocation of the village fiddlers or, in the wonderful and enchanting Mozartian Adagio, the use of the bows "col legno" (that is, used by striking the wood of the bow against the stands) long before Rossini in his opening to Il Signor Bruschino, remain particularly memorable moments. Mozart, the much-admired friend, is also present in this album dedicated to the impresarios ("gli impresari"), those theatre directors whom Prince Esterházy hired for certain shows that Haydn enriched with compositions which would later be transformed into symphonies – and which are now presented here, in this volume. In addition to the Symphony No. 67 described above, this edition offers an original version of Mozart's Thamos, King of Egypt in an exclusively instrumental form, as well as Haydn's Symphonies No. 9 and No. 65 which were written for use in the theatre. This theatre of passions that runs through Haydn's 107 symphonies must therefore be understood as a perfect match between the natural aspirations of the composer's own genius and the pragmatism that almost always governed the arts of the time. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 5, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Chamber Music - Released July 1, 2016 | BIS

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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 2009 | Glossa

Distinctions Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
The commission came from the port city of Cádiz, in southern Spain. Joseph Haydn had been invited to compose orchestral passion music for performance during Holy Week. The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross, which contributed significantly to Haydn's international reputation, also exists in versions for string quartet and piano, and as an oratorio, but the symphonic version presented here is the original. The composer himself considered this one of his finest works, and today, more than two centuries later, we can only concur. Haydn "translated" Christ's last words, culled from the various gospels, into seven slow, sober and imposingly spiritual movements. After Cádiz the work became removed from its liturgical context. In modern-day programming attempts have been made to reconstruct the original setting, but in a concert hall, spoken commentary only interferes with the music, and even more so on a recording. In respecting this objection, but at the same time desiring to create a meaningful space between the movements, Frans Brüggen invited the Dutch-American composer Ron Ford (Kansas City, 1959) to compose instrumental intermezzi. "This was a real challenge," says Ford. "I looked for a balance between contrast and creating suitable connections. With this sort of commission you have to ask yourself: what haven't we had yet? Haydn is punctual, logical, direct. What is missing is a sense of swell and ebb. I explored that route, with the sound of the Orchestra of the 18th Century in mind. Their breathing style of playing is unique in the world." (Glossa) Under the steady hands of Frans Brüggen, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century performs the orchestral version of Haydn with sculpted balances, molded ensembles, and bright but warmly blended colors. Brüggen gives Haydn's music the sense of seriousness and spirituality it needs to succeed, but never allows the work to become bogged down in its own solemnity. Brüggen has written that he was looking for brief musical interludes to take the place of the Gospel readings that were originally intended to separate the movements, and Ford's intermezzi serve that function. The aesthetic viewpoint of the listener will determine whether or not they satisfactorily serve that function. (Qobuz) 
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Classical - Released July 5, 2019 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet
After leaving the boys’ choir of St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, one of the ways the young Haydn found to support himself was as a harpsichord teacher. The three early sonatas featured on this recording were almost certainly intended for his students: short, light pieces with few technical demands. The two larger sonatas, both in the key of E-flat major, were written some twenty years later and are far more extensive. Both require significantly greater prowess from the performer, and represent Haydn’s ingenuity and skill to the full. The two additional works included here, whilst single-movement compositions, are substantial pieces. The Adagio ma non troppo would become the slow movement of Piano Trio No. 36, whilst the Variations on ‘Gott erhalte’ is based on the second movement of the ‘Emperor’ Quartet (Op. 76 No. 3), which is itself a set of variations on an anthem composed by Haydn at the request of an Austrian politician for the 29th birthday of the Emperor, and intended as a patriotic hymn comparable to ‘God Save the King’ in England – and a response against the "Marseillaise". © Chandos
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Chamber Music - Released July 7, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
This is the second half of a traversal of Haydn's Op. 20 quartets by the Chiaroscuro Quartet, and if you're after just one you can take your pick: both albums feature playing of a very high standard. But really the nature of the set demands hearing both: from the fugal finale of the String Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5, to the florid slow movements, to the multifarious sonata-allegros, the quartets of Op. 20 are experimental and even radical. The Chiaroscuro Quartet, using historical bows and gut strings, emphasizes the experimental quality with edgy performances, but they don't hit you over the head; instead, constant tension and excitement put across the sense of discovery in the music. Sample the first movement of the String Quartet in D major, Op. 20, No. 4, for a taste of the energy of the music in the hands of this group whose members hail from various European countries. BIS tries to maintain the intensity with very bright sound from the Sendesaal Bremen studio; the results are clear enough, but not representative of how the music would have sounded in its original surroundings. The accomplished playing of the Chiaroscuro Quartet is the main thing here, however. © TiVo
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Quartets - Released March 10, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet + Video Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released February 1, 2017 | Warner Classics

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Symphonic Music - Released June 8, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
Since the 2015-2016 season, Giovanni Antonini has been the "principal guest conductor" of the Basel Chamber Orchestra (the Kammerorchester Basel, refounded in 1984 in the spirit of the original Basler Kammerorchester, founded by Swiss patron and conductor Paul Sacher), with whom he has worked on major discographic projects, like the ongoing complete recordings of Beethoven's Symphonies (Sony Classical), which has already seen lively success with press and public alike; and the "Haydn 2032" project, which aims to record all 700 of Joseph Haydn's symphonies in time to mark three hundred years since his birth (in 2032). Started in 2014, this audacious project has been entirely organised, produced and financed by the Basel Joseph Haydn Foundation, and it aims to take in both records and 19 concert seasons across all of Europe. It is being undertaken in cooperation with Il Giardino Armonico, a well-known ensemble of which Giovanni Antonini is a founder member.. The two orchestras are sharing out the recordings which will appear on Alpha Classics, in thematic, rather than chronological order, with other symphonies by composers in Haydn's orbit, like Gluck, Porpora, C.P.E. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Michael Haydn, Stamitz, Pleyel and Salieri. The next few years look to be absolutely thrilling in terms of releases. This sixth volume offers three symphonies which are full of a dense and almost spiritual expressiveness dating back to Haydn's Sturm und Drang era, coupled with a work by Joseph Martin Kraus, an exact contemporary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose genius absolutely stands up alongside both Haydn and Mozart. But history was not kind to this visionary composer, who moved to Sweden, where he failed to make a mark, despite the protection of King Gustav III. His music, strongly expressive, is also influenced by the Sturm und Drang movement which brought drama to musical discourse and heralded the birth of Romanticism © François Hudry/Qobuz