- Neal Davies (Bass-Baritone)
- Peter Harvey (Bass Baritone)
- Mark Padmore
- Miah Persson (Soprano)
- Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Notes & Reviews:
"McCreesh has worked wonders with this popular but difficult score, and the Gabrieli Consort and Players produce a performance of considerable electricity... The orchestral and choral performances are superb throughout. Although expanded forces are used, the lucidity of the textures and attention to detail equals the Gabrieli Consort's usual high standards, and McCreesh's spirited attack means that 'period performance practice' does not have to equate to preciousness; rather, the use of period instruments gives the recording a depth of sound that matches Haydn's astounding text. In short, a highly recommended release, available at a special low price." -MusicalCriticism.com
BBC Music Magazine
The sheer magnificence of the choruses that provide the oratorio's structural pillars has rarely been so effectively realised on disc. McCreesh also has an exceptional set of soloists. The results are exceptional; overtaking even John Eliot Gardiner's striking version on the same label.
While yielding to none in joyous exhilaration, McCreesh gives full value to the mystery and awe of creation. Unlike most period practitioners, he often favours broad tempos, whether in a wonderfully creepy evocation of the primeval slime in "Chaos" or the most majestic of sunrises... If you want a Creation in English, this new version - sonically thrilling, marvellously sung and characterised - sweeps the field.
In all the choruses McCreesh's pacing - eager but never hectic - and rhythmic energy are wonderfully inspiriting. He is acutely responsive, too, to the work's mystery and awe... The less consistently cast Rattle recording sometimes generates more fun. but for a Creation in English, this new version - exhilarating, poetic and marvellously sung - becomes the prime recommendation.
Gramophone Classical Music Guide
ceived The Creation as the first bilingual oratorio and would surely have been perplexed that Anglophone record-buyers seem to prefer the work in German. The main problem, of course, is that the Baron's command of English failed to match his self-confidence, prompting many attempts to improve on the original. On this new recording, Paul McCreesh's emendations are less radical than those on the two other available versions in English (from Simon Rattle and Robert Shaw), but on the whole more successful, retaining all the Milton inspired quaintness of van Swieten's text while rectifying his mistranslations and clumsy Germanic word order.
Language apart, McCreesh's recording differs from its period competitors in scale: where they typically use a smallish professional choir and an orchestra of around 50, McCreesh pits a 113- strong band against a chorus of similar numbers. Abetted by the glowing, spacious acoustics of Watford Town Hall, the big celebratory choruses make a more powerful impact than in any of the rival period versions. Occasionally - say in the rollicking fugue in 'Awake the harp', here done at a constant fortissimo - one would have welcomed more nuanced dynamics. But there is no denying the incandescence of the climaxes to 'The heavens are telling' and the final 'Praise the Lord, uplift your voices'.
In all the choruses McCreesh's pacing - eager but never hectic - and rhythmic energy are wonderfully inspiriting. He is acutely responsive, too, to the work's mystery and awe, daring, and vindicating, slower-than-usual tempi for 'Chaos' (launched by the most apocalyptic of timpani rolls), the Sunrise and the first morning in Paradise, celestially evoked by the Gabrieli's trio of flutes. A pity, though, that he allows the cannon fire timpani to pre-empt Haydn's cosmic blaze at 'light'.
McCreesh's trump card is his solo team, superb both individually and as an exceptionally sensitive ensemble. Has the trio near the close of Part 2, 'On thee each living soul awaits', ever been sung with such radiant inwardness. Other highlights include Sandrine Piau's graceful, smiling 'With verdure clad', here a truly happy song to the spring, Mark Padmore's tender legato in Haydn's portrayal of the first woman, and Neal Davies's deep, velvet softness in 'the limpid brook' and his hieratic reverence in the sublime arioso 'Be fruitful all, and multiply'.
Peter Harvey, supple and lyrical, and Miah Persson, with a touch of sensuousness in her vernal tone, are beautifully paired as Adam and Eve. For a Creation in English, this new version - exhilarating, poetic and marvellously sung - becomes the prime recommendation.
bbc.co.uk - Andrew McGregor
Right from the first notes the sheer scale of the drama is apparent, you feel the full force of order emerging from chaos and light from darkness...bass Neal Davies is particularly impressive as Raphael...If you're after The Creation in English, this might just be the one to buy... and the recording captures the whole spectacle with apparent ease, which is an achievement in itself.
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Works DetailsHaydn, Franz Joseph : The Creation, H 21 no 2
- Performers: Neal Davies (Bass-Baritone); Peter Harvey (Bass Baritone); Mark Padmore; Miah Persson (Soprano); Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
- Conductor: Paul McCreesh
- Ensemble: Chetham's Chamber Choir
- Notes: Composition written: 1798.
- Running Time: 6 min. 19 sec.
- Period Time: Classical
- Form: Cantata/Oratorio
- Written: 1798