Rattle delights in all of Haydn's surprises; he capitalises on them. No musical "incident" escapes his ear - or ours. In the spacious introduction to No 102, the greater the mystery, the less the vibrato, Rattle appears to have advised his CBSO strings (period manners without the instruments). It's a marvellously unvarnished sound. Likewise, the big, resilient Allegro. And my goodness, Beethoven is waiting to happen in the fierce, disorienting modulations of the development. A simple crescendo - the distant rumble and sudden roar of a timpani roll - carries such import in a Rattle performance.
The drama is in the contrast, the tension between loud and soft, rhythmic and sustained, action and repose. Note how Rattle characterises Haydn's "operatic" deployment of silence and declamation in the slow movement ("Capriccio") of No 86. And never take for granted the musical good sense of his phrasing. The exquisite main theme of the Adagio from No 102 is sung through, as in one breath, the embellishment in the tail of the melody lending an enchantment out of all proportion to the notes on the page. And again, note how he points up the extraordinary effect of the muted trumpets in this movement. You may have heard the piece many times before, but you want to know what happens next.
Best of all, Rattle never dandifies this music: poise and robustness go hand in hand, elegance is tempered with wit, charm with good humour. Try the trio of the Menuet of No 86 for size. I defy you not to smile.Reuse content