For those looking for a fresh read on Haydn's symphonies, look no further than this release by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and youthful conductor Robin Ticciati. They offer a trio of symphonies in D major, from different parts of Haydn's career, and all have the feeling of having been taken up by musicians who had no preconceptions about them. The general classification of the performance is modern-instrument with influences from the historical-performance movement. The splendid hunting-horn quartets that open the Symphony No. 31, Hob. 1/31, are given to gutsy natural horns, and the lyrical effect of the various solo passages in the slow movement is amplified by the emergence of a continuo fortepiano.
Of the large crop of tenors reaching their prime years in the late 2010s, Malta's Joseph Calleja has shown strong signs of breaking out from the pack, and this Verdi recital can only help him. Calleja combines a rich, smooth middle range with a bright, edgy top in which he can convincingly explode in emotion. Album buyers have been primed for a new recital release from Calleja and would probably have been perfectly satisfied with an album covering Verdi's greatest hits.