If there’s one thing you can always expect with Haydn, it’s the unexpected. No matter how many times you hear one of the major quartets, trios, piano sonatas or symphonies, the thrill of the new always lies in wait. Of course, nothing will quite work if the interpreters fail either to pull their weight or lose it (depending on the work in question) which is part of what makes Paavo Järvi’s Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen ‘London’ Symphony cycle such an enticing prospect. First up are the ‘Clock’ and ‘Drumroll’ symphonies (Sony Music/RCA  19658 80741 2), the ‘Creation’-like adagio that opens the former – time passing, perhaps? – falling away for the breeziest of allegros. Timps with hard sticks, spatially separated violin desks and gossamer textures keep the music airborne but come the Andante and time starts to race ahead of itself. Not without reason, mind: at 2:25 the clock’s movement leaps tellingly to life, Järvi and his Bremen players illuminating every busy strand of counterpoint (the woodwinds make a particularly impressive showing). At 4:35 a brief rest signals a darkening of tone, again marked by Järvi as meaningful. But what’s most impressive here is the trio, already striking because as written the flute and accompaniment aren’t on speaking terms – the strings refuse to budge harmony-wise, another unexpected twist – but here Järvi, aside from cueing a gentle easing of the pulse, has his flautist trace a subtle accelerando across the theme. Also note the lightly brushed strings and the duet between flute and bassoon.  From 6:57 into its Andante ‘The Drum Roll’’s celebratory tone marks a striking contrast with the movement’s sombre opening: the closing minute or so is pure genius and Järvi makes a beeline for the music’s inherent drama. Try also the curlicuing clarinet-led trio to the Menuet (at 2:05), so elegant, and much aided by refined playing. Järvi is an honest broker who in pursuit of the musical truth doesn’t take leave of his imagination. I’m already itching for the next disc in the series. Very strongly recommended.

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