Notes & Reviews:
In 2009, LSO Live released an acclaimed recording of Haydn's Die Schöpfung (The Creation) conducted by Sir Colin Davis. This month, Sir Colin returns to the music of Haydn with a superb cast of young singers for his later oratorio Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons). Following the success of Die Schöpfung, which had swiftly gained popularity throughout Europe, Haydn's librettist Baron Gottfried van Swieten suggested another project, based on James Thomson's pastoral epic, The Seasons. One of Haydn's last major works, Die Jahreszeiten is music of thrilling vitality and creativity, depicting the yearly cycle of life in the countryside through the eyes of three peasants. Sir Colin's recent LSO Live release of Nielsen symphonies received an Editor's Choice in Gramophone and was a BBC Music Magazine Choice of the Month.
"Davis’s affection is palpable at every turn of this handsomely balanced reading. The London Symphony Orchestra plays beautifully for him, supplying colorful detail for the music’s frequent descriptive effects...The soloists are also strong, especially the pure-voiced soprano Miah Persson...The London Symphony Chorus, 100-plus strong, musters ample sound for the big outbursts and also handles contrapuntal numbers with precision." -TheClassicalReview.com
"In The Seasons, as Robbins Landon says, old Haydn is “describing things — the first glow of dawn on the horizon, the hazy heat of midsummer, the ripe fields of autumn — which will soon retreat beyond his grasp”. Yet he does so with undiminished energy." -The Sunday Telegraph
He is as responsive as ever to both the zest and humour of this most joyous of oratorios... Fugues always unfold with cumulative power... [The LSO chorus] sing with spirit, crisp diction and plenty of punch at climaxes - impressive agility, too... ... All three soloists are well-chosen... this exhilarating and affectionate LSO performance can be recommended to anyone wanting The Seasons in German, performed with modern instruments
For the unmistakable mark of Sir Colin Davis alone, and a performance under his direction of Haydn's extensive oratorio The Seasons that oozes operatic exuberance and nature-fed optimism at its broadest level, this latest LSO Live disc is genuinely attractive
BBC Music Magazine
Sir Colin Davis's live account is founded on purposive modern-instrument playing and the conductor's own irrepressible dynamism; in this early eighties, he continues to show a sharp-eared appreciation of the characteristic detail of Haydn's writing... the performance displays clarity and precision: the sound articulates the complex texutres neatly, allowing Haydn's remarkable scoring and and highly effective vocal writing to register to delightful effect.
International Record Review
How the LSO so instinctively finds the right kind of scale for playing Haydn is miraculous!... Miah Persson as Jane is all innocence and freshness, without the least diminution of tonal fullness; Jeremy Ovenden as Lucas reminds one with his flexibility and lovely open sound of Philip Langridge occasionally (there can be no higher praise); and Andrew Foster-Williams as Simon is a real bass, excelling as ploughman or huntsman and never turning cavernous.
Classic FM Magazine
From cheeky surface details to the underlying sense of optimism, Colin Davis is alive to every nuance of Haydn's late masterpiece. The conductor's lightness of touch allows the music to flow like quicksilver, albeit without undermining the work's long-range architecture... The soloists are also on beguiling form.
Recording information: Barbican, London (06/27/2010).
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Works DetailsHaydn, Franz Joseph : The Seasons
- Conductor: Colin Davis
- Notes: Composition written: 1801.
- Running Time: 120 min. 11 sec.
- Period Time: Classical
- Form: Cantata/Oratorio
- Written: 1801