Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard

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Michael Haydn

Symphony No 29 in D minor (1784)

No, that’s no typo. Michael Haydn was the younger brother of the more prolific and acclaimed Joseph, and, like him a composer of true merit. His work was admired by Mozart; he was the teacher of Weber and Diabelli; even Joseph regarded his brother’s religious works as superior to his own.

The Symphony No 29 was once attributed to Joseph, perhaps because it’s such a gem. The opening Allegro Brilliante is full of drama – the rhythmic play is instantly recognisable as at least one if the Haydn brothers. The stately Andante transfixes the attention through a compelling dialogue between first and second violins – before the Rondeau’s mad, jerky race to the finish. A work of pure fun from the composer once regarded as the more talented of the Haydns. FM

Essential recording

Eight Symphonies
Bournemouth Sinfonietta/
Harold Farberman
Voxbox CDX5020

The no-holds barred playing of the Bournemouth Symphony recommends itself on first listen. Farberman adds timpanis to bring real punch to No 29. 

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Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard
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