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28.11.15

The Hobbit Returns: Thomas Fey & the Heidelberg Symphony will finish their Haydn Cycle



It has just been informally announced that Hänssler CLASSIC, which was recently, partially merged with PROFIL Hänssler (see "Merger Reunites Classical Music Labels Of Father And Son" on Forbes.com), will continue the wildly imaginative, musically successful Haydn Symphony cycle that Thomas Fey and the Heidelberger Sinfoniker had been working on for the last few years. Yay!

Fey (*1960), who has attained the lovingly-meant nickname “The Hobbit” in an internet forum that teems with appréciateurs for that particular cycle, founded the orchestra in 1993 and has its roots in an early music ensemble that Fey founded as a student, several years earlier. Fey, who had studied under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, is greatly influenced by, but not beholden to, the historically informed performance ideology or movement. (The orchestra calls itself “historically oriented”.)

When their Haydn recording project began shortly after the orchestra assembled, in 1999, the results were modern, small-scale, spirited, sometimes idiosyncratic or at least unusual. And they were always, always exciting in a way that I happen to think totally befits Haydn. They have recorded 58 symphonies in 22 volumes, many of which are favorites of mine (although I still lack several). Volume 3 even made the Forbes list of 8 (9) recordings of How To Build A Top Quality Classical Music Library For $100 that I wrote with George Pieler.

Then things took a turn to the disappointing and dramatic when Hänssler CLASSIC pulled the plug on the cycle (with 46 symphonies still to go) and, much more distressing, when Thomas Fey suffered a domestic accident (now well over a year ago) where he suffered a traumatic brain injury from which he has yet to recover fully. (The orchestra’s website states that it still isn’t clear when Thomas Fey will be able to get back on stage. Early hopes that he might be able to lead the new year’s concert and be back on stage in 2016 might turn out too optimistic.) Further, the city of Heidelberg (and Mannheim, where the more or less identical orchestra operates under the name of “Mannheim Mozart Orchestra”) opted not to endow the orchestra with any public moneys, which put its very survival in question. They’ve kept afloat all the same and this bit of news that they Haydn cycle shall be resumed and hopefully finished, is a very heartening sign that things are on the mend.

As I gather more information about the situation, I will post it here.

The entire Haydn Symphony cycle—as extant—is listed below, in order of recording date.



Volume 1: Symphonies 104, 94, Acide e Galatea Overture


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 2: Symphonies 45, 64


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 3: Symphonies 82, 88, 95


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 4: Symphonies 34, 39, 40, 50


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 5: Symphonies 83, 84, 85


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 6: Symphonies 49, 52, 58


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 7: Symphonies 69, 86, 87


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 8: Symphonies 41, 44, 47


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 9: Symphonies 70, 73, 75


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 10: Symphonies 60, 61, Overture in D


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 11: Symphonies 57, 59, 65


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 12: Symphonies 48, 56


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 13: Symphonies 93, 96, 97


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 14: Symphony 31, Horn Concertos 1 & 2


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 15: Symphonies 53, 54


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 16: Symphonies 90, 92


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 17: Symphonies 1, 4, 5, 10


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 18: Symphonies 89, 102, Sinfonia Concertante


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 19: Symphonies 26, 27, 42


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 20: Symphonies 25, 43, 36


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 21: Symphonies 99, 100, L'incontro improvviso Overture


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler



Volume 22: Symphonies 98, 103


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler




Paris Symphonies (82 - 87)


available at Amazon
J.Haydn, ,
T.Fey / Heidelberg Symphony
Hässler





3 comments:

Pohaku Nezami said...

I believe I have all (or all but one) of the Fey/Haydn releases and they've been wonderful. I'm sorry to hear about Fey's injury, but glad to hear the hopeful news. May he return soon to full strength.

With aloha.

jfl said...

Word from the Haenssler label is that they ARE indeed hopeful to continue work on that cycle and finish it, after all.

Anonymous said...

These performances have just been so much FUN as a second set to accompany the classic Dorati set, I hope to see the cycle completed in my life time. Certain moments are truly off the wall and make me laugh with utter musical enjoyment. Haydn's humor? a perfect fit! Indeed.