All-Mozart concerts are pretty common these days, but you’ll hardly find any all-Haydn affairs anywhere. With so much fresh, tuneful, inventive, often unpredictable material to choose from, you wonder why.
And after hearing Hollywood Bowl’s perennial Baroque-Classical-period guest conductor Nicholas McGegan take on an all-Haydn program with a chamber-sized portion of the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Tuesday night, you will especially wonder why.
With McGegan’s impish grin, vigorous wiggle-waggle motions on the podium, fleet tempos and ability to inspire precision and zest, you get the feeling that Haydn and McGegan were made for each other. And McGegan isn’t afraid to explore some obscure byways like the three-movement, finale-less Symphony No. 30 (“Alleluia”), or the even-rarer, bright, crisp Overture to “Windsor Castle.”
And McGegan was only too happy to exploit Haydn’s marvelous sense of humor, highlighting the witty flute responses to the clipped strokes of the strings in the second movement of the Symphony No. 30, or those strange pauses and interjections in the Symphony No. 103 (“Drumroll”).