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It took a little while for my ears to adjust to the Oxford Symphony on a modern grand piano but the more I listen, the more I like it. Carl David Stegmann (1751-1826), who made these transcriptions, was a noted composer (including several operas), singer (he took part in performances of Don Giovanni), harpsichordist (holding a post with the Bishop of Ermeland) and conductor. He knew Beethoven and the publisher Simrock. For the latter he made many arrangements and transcriptions, including 25 Haydn symphonies between c1811 and 1814.

In his booklet notes, Marc Vignal reports that Ivan Ilić found a number of Stegmann’s transcriptions less than satisfactory, so he selected Nos 44, 75 and 92 as the ones that work best on the keyboard. Ilić, who has been doing sterling work rehabilitating Reicha’s piano music for Chandos (see IP August, page 34), certainly plays these symphonies with conviction, even when they depart occasionally from Haydn’s originals. Ilić’s performer note waxes lyrical about the Trauer, which he regularly performs live and is his most compelling interpretation. A fascinating disc with terrific sound.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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