96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Decca 4788837 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

The most familiar of the complete Haydn symphony cycles is the late-’60s/early-’70s Philharmonia Hungarica/Doráti set on Decca. Now the company has released a 36CD period-instrument equivalent using existing Hogwood and Brüggen recordings plus these new versions of this little-known group of symphonies composed in 1782-84. They became, the booklet note says, sufficiently popular in Europe to prompt a commission for the ‘Paris’ series. And that’s not surprising: I found myself encoring the finales of both Nos 79 and 81, and was mightily intrigued by the construction of No 80(i) where a simple dance tune keeps popping up in the context of a feverish allegro. The keenness of these young players is impressive and the performances, with brisk menuettos and abrupt dynamic contrasts, are very much in today’s interpretative manner. CB

Sound Quality: 90%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

As described by CB, above, the feverish strings that soar through the Allegro Spiritoso regularly exceed the span offered by plain vanilla CD and, thus, make good use of the 96kHz sample rate here. Dynamic range is also well used. PM