Haydn is generally seen as one of the main originators of the "Viennese
sound", the inimitable style of playing which is still very much alive
today and is particularly cultivated by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
This orchestra has Haydn's music in its blood, and its interpretation of
his symphonies demonstrates a supreme confidence, musical sophistication
and lightness of touch. As a noted American music critic remarked following
a performance of the Oxford Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein: "Let's
have no further argument: the Vienna Philharmonic is the world's greatest
orchestra." Leonard Bernstein began conducting Haydn's orchestral works
when he was still Music Director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since then, his interpretations of the symphonies have consistently met
with unreserved critical acclaim. He, of all conductors, possesses
precisely the qualities which Haydn's music requires: grace, charm and a
generous measure of wit.