HAYDN: Symphonies 31, 70 and 101 – Robin Ticciati / Scottish Chamber Orch. – Linn

HAYDN: Symphonies 31, 70 and 101 – Robin Ticciati / Scottish Chamber Orch. – multichannel SACD Linn CKD 500, 77:00 (9/11/15) [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

So how much Haydn do we need in our music libraries? This new multi-channel SACD from Linn Records is a good reason to have some more.

These are very fresh interpretations of the master with bold and energetic interpretations of these three symphonies.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is led by Robin Ticciati, a violinist, pianist and percussionist by training. Ticciati turned to conducting at 15 guided by Sir Colin Davis and Sir Simon Rattle, and was appointed Principal Conductor of the SCO in 2009.He is clearly comfortable with the SCO, as are they with him, with the result being really notable renderings of these familiar works.

Linn Records was born from Linn’s music system business. The company has been a leader in high performance, very musical systems, and they felt the need to have a say in the one part of the musical chain they had no say in; the program material.

The company has released a large catalog of music, available as high quality downloads, MP3 files, vinyl and SACDs. It’s mostly a classical catalog, and many of the releases have been outstanding.

These Haydn performances take advantage of the tremendous dynamic range Linn has accomplished in these digital recordings. As a result, the three symphonies are gripping, both in the way Ticciati interprets the music, and the seemingly effortless capture of that trio in the recordings.

The strings are smooth and never strident. The horn entrances have punch and were so realistic they took me by surprise. The image of the chamber orchestra is nicely etched against a silent background.

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. The liner notes are about the most useful and insightful I have read in a long, long time. Multiple essayists explore the music, and Haydn’s place in the pantheon of composers.

Linn has produced a disc of great musical value that also happens to be an audiophile treat. Recommended for chamber music fans, Haydn lovers, and people with highly refined audio equipment at home.

—Mel Martin

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