Alan Rich
April 26, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 22 in E-flat, 78 in C Minor, 82 in C

Current Status
In Season
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Sony Classical

We gave it an A-

Even in these days of obsession with ”authentic” performance practice, with gut strings on the violins instead of modern steel and, some would say, gutless musicianship on the podium, it’s comforting to know that you can still make a Haydn symphony into a sublime experience with the instruments of a modern orchestra and a conductor of contemporary inclinations. The baby-faced Esa-Pekka Salonen, 32, conductor-designate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has worked out an admirable approach to three of Haydn’s high-energy scores — Nos. 22 in E-flat, 78 in C Minor, and 82 in C — not on tiptoe but head-first. These particular works — No. 22 with its most original orchestration (mellow English horns instead of the brighter-toned oboes), the angry No. 78, full of storm and stress, and the uproarious No. 82, with its final ”Bear Dance” — emerge particularly well under Salonen’s vital, if sometimes feverish, onslaught. To his credit, he exacts a marvelous clarity from the crack little orchestra. You hear everything going on, the interplay of winds and strings, the colorful use of brass, the joyous passages here and there for solo instruments. Dour souls who lament the lack of promising young podium talent are urged to sample Salonen’s work here, and to take heart. A-

You May Like