Nicholas McGegan’s latest CD nominated for Grammy

5 January 2012

Nicholas McGegan’s recent CD recording of Haydn Symphonies with Philharmonia Baroque where he has been music director for 25 years has been nominated for a Grammy. Writing in the Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein makes it his album of the week:

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 88, 101 and 104 with Philharmonia Baroque (CD)

“McGegan’s period band follows the release of a stunning disc of Berlioz and Handel (sung by the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson) with this highly enjoyable album of late Haydn symphonies, recorded in concerts at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church from 2007 to 2009. Even in a field crowded with period-instrument Haydn symphony recordings, McGegan’s vigorous, charismatic readings compel your attention. Tempos are well chosen, never hectic or driven, as some “authentic” versions tend to be. The 50-odd players take to their conductor’s crisp articulations and buoyant phrasings so well that the music speaks with an appealing naturalness. When McGegan does intervene — note the explosive bursts of timpani in the slow movement of No. 88, and the lusty whoops of the valveless horns in the opening Presto of the “Clock” — it’s always to bring out Papa Haydn’s charm and good humor. The fact that the performances were caught on the wing, in clear, truthful sound, seals the deal. Highly recommended.”

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