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haydn, joseph  -  The seasons / berlin rias chamber chorus, freiburg baroque orchestra, rené jacobs

  • Format : CD x 2 Digipack

  • Etat général : original neuf
  • Etat pochette : S (?)
  • Etat disque : S (?)

  • Label : HMF 2961829
  • Pressage : UPC/EAN: 794881891726 - Italia
  • Année : 2008
  • Commentaire : Haydn: The Seasons / René Jacobs, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra Release Date: 09/ ... Voir plus bas

  • Quantité disponible : 1
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Haydn: The Seasons / René Jacobs, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Release Date: 09/14/2008
Label: Harmonia Mundi Catalog #: 2961829 Spars Code: DDD
Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer: Marlis Petersen, Werner Güra, Dietrich Henschel
Conductor: René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 2 Hours 5 Mins.
EAN: 0794881891726

Works on This Recording

1. The Seasons, H 21 no 3 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer: Marlis Petersen (Soprano), Werner Güra (Tenor), Dietrich Henschel (Baritone)
Conductor: René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1799-1801; Vienna, Austria
Language: German

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A prestigious series celebrating the bicentennial of Haydn's death. The harmonia mundi Haydn Edition 2009 is, first of all, a project: to show that through - or despite? - a wide range of interpretations it is possible to generate an indirect portrait of a composer who is anything but monolithic. Whether they use period instruments (Freiburger Barockorchester, Coin-Cohen-Höbarth Trio, Andreas Staier et al.) or modern ones (Alain Planès, Jerusalem Quartet), all these artists offer living, tangible proof of the extraordinary cohesion, peculiar to Haydn's music, between genre and idea, between language and instrumental resources. In the end, perhaps that's what is called style. WHEN NATURE TOOK ON NEW MEANING. The transition from Winckelmann to Rousseau marked one of the biggest upheavals of thought in the Enlightenment - and it is perfectly illustrated in these four Seasons with their decidedly Romantic 'descriptivism'! In this music, even though lambs frisk, fish teem and thunder booms, it is the question of Man within Nature that is the central issue. Already a bestseller! By going back to the very first version of The Seasons (with the orchestral introductions played in their entirety), René Jacobs enables us to relive that day in April 1801 that saw the triumph of old 'Papa' Haydn.


Let's put aside the by now done-to-death commentary-disguised-as-analysis that focuses on this oratorio's supposedly weak overall musical structure and uncohesive libretto. And let's forget all the reasons we may have disliked this huge late work--you know, the idyllic/poetic imagery, all those fields and ploughs and flowers and maidens frolicking in meadows, the sunrises, the storms. And the animals! Gamboling lambs and thronging fishes, swarming bees and fluttering birds! The hunt, the drinking, the eating, complete with sound effects and lots of orchestral scene-painting. Let's forget that for now and just admit that this is one incredible score containing some of the most exciting, rousing, affecting, and entertainingly descriptive music you'll ever hear. I didn't used to think this; my former impression was of a thematically quaint, musically overblown monstrosity, thanks to amateur choir/orchestra productions and early, unstylish recordings. But thanks to René Jacobs and his extraordinary singers and players, we have a Seasons that for the first time fully realizes the dramatic extent of the work and, most impressively, the expressive range of the huge orchestral force that Haydn created and for which he so masterfully scored.

It's not all wonderful--some of the arias are too long or just not all that melodically compelling, and occasionally an effect, the sunrise in "Summer", for example, today might seem just a little obvious or too close to parody. But those are minor quibbles that for many listeners are not even worth mentioning in light of the superb choruses and evocative orchestral introductions, such as the "description" of winter's descent over the land that opens the oratorio's last section. Besides the marvelous orchestration (a feature of the whole piece), which aptly and ingeniously sets the mood, the words that follow are some of the work's most vivid and powerful--and Haydn responds to such passages as "Light and life have grown weak, warmth and happiness have vanished..." (a cavatina for soprano) with one of his loveliest melodies.

Jacobs has an ideal sense of pacing (relatively swift and full of well-focused energy) and of how to maximize the amazing range of color at his disposal. Consider the orchestra, which was anything but normal for this place and time: piccolo, double winds, a double-bassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, timpani, triangle, tambourine, strings, and fortepiano continuo. (In some performances during Haydn's time, even this contingent was augmented by doubling or tripling some of the instruments and fielding a choir of 200 or more singers.) But this isn't just big, bombastic bashing and clattering. Haydn's reasons for using these instruments becomes clear as the work progresses, the more obvious moments being where a piccolo or oboe or bassoon emerges to highlight a detail of a scene, or where those famous Haydn hunting horns rip through the atmosphere. But there are many more subtle effects, and others, while more literal in their portrayal--the spinning wheel in "Winter"--are enhanced by a little clever touch, in this case the section ends with the wheel slowing down gradually to a stop. The point is, we can actually hear these things cleanly, clearly, and eloquently, played with passion for the music and respect for its drama--and with a sense of humor in certain places.

The singing is absolutely first rate--but we're not surprised, for this choir is one of the world's finest, and these three soloists are all experienced opera and oratorio singers who are anything but detached in their delivery. Instead, they sing like characters with personalities--we can picture a real Hanne, Lukas, and Simon describing the scenes and stories. And of course, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra can't be beat, especially when given such a luscious score to dig into. Yes, I could go into detail and describe the blazing horns in the hunt (one of the performance's most dazzling, daring sequences!) or the exciting tumult of the storm or the dreariness of impending winter, or even those frolicking maidens--but Haydn already did that. And you'll hear it all when you put these CDs into your player. Need I mention that the sound is stunning?
Artistic Quality: 10
Sound Quality: 10
– David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com


AllMusic Review by James Leonard [-]
Embodying the highest ideals of the Enlightenment, Die Jahreszeiten is surely Haydn's supreme masterpiece and the greatest secular choral-orchestral work of the second half of the eighteenth century. It's pantheism at its grandest and the pathetic fallacy at its most glorious, with the whole of nature given voices to sing God's praises. It's exalted and exhilarating and exciting and also occasionally funny. There have been great recordings of the work in the past with Karl Böhm's lofty and majestic recording arguably the best. But while there have been many of what used to be called period-instrument recordings, there has yet to be one to compare with Böhm's until now. This 2004 recording of Haydn's masterpiece by René Jacobs conducting the RIAS-Kammerchor and the Freiburger Barockorchester is not only one of the best period-instrument performances of the work, it is the first recording comparable to Böhm's. Jacobs is a superb technical conductor: Die Jahreszeiten is a huge work with enormous technical difficulties, but the performance is wonderfully balanced between voices and instruments, between sections and movements, between mass and movement. But Jacobs does more than guide the work: Die Jahreszeiten, for all that it embodies of the highest ideals, is also a deeply human and deeply affecting work. With soloists Marlis Petersen, Werner Gura, and Dietrich Henschel and the Kammerchor, Jacobs goes beyond technique to the deep humanity of Haydn's song of praise. Harmonia Mundi's sound is clear, deep, warm, and true.


A joyous new performance of The Seasons from the Award-winning René Jacobs

It would be hard to imagine a more joyful account of Haydn's culminating masterpiece. René Jacobs and his outstanding team perfectly capture the exuberance with which the composer seemed to be defying the years. Infectious rhythms bring out the fun of The Seasons from the start, and when in Simon's first aria Haydn quotes from the slow movement of the Surprise Symphony, Jacobs nudges the music persuasively. And in the final chorus of ‘Summer', the lowing cattle and quail's cry, and chirping crickets and croaking frogs, sound witty, not naive.

In all this Jacobs is helped by a clear and immediate recording. If John Eliot Gardiner's 1992 recording shares many of Jacobs's qualities, his recording has less presence. The new release highlights the bold writing for brass and timpani in the choruses; the timbre of the Freiburgers' valveless horns is very distinctive, notably in the drinking chorus at the end of ‘Autumn', where Haydn introduces triangle and tambourine for good measure. The storm chorus in ‘Summer' rivals Beethoven's storm in the Pastoral, and the crescendo as the sun rises is thrilling.

The RIAS Chamber Choir is a fair match for Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir, and the soloists are first-rate, fresh and youthful-sounding. Marlis Petersen's bright, clear soprano is ideally flexible to cope with the coloratura passages in Hanne's aria, ‘Welche Labung', in ‘Summer', while Werner Güra's light tenor is well-suited to the role of Lukas; Dietrich Henschel brings a Lieder singer's feeling for detail to Simon.

A final choice is a matter of taste – in its way Gardiner's is just as recommendable – but this new account's greater sense of relaxation and feeling for the fun in the writing make its claims second to none.

Edward Greenfield, GRAMOPHONE


BBC Music MagazineNovember 2004
What clinches my preference for this new version is the trio of soloists, led by the soaring, sensuous soprano of Marlis Petersen. Petersen's timing and her knowing humour are delightful, both in her tale of seduction outwitted and in her love duet with Werner Güra's ardent, graceful tenor.



Stereo 10 / 04: "Eine treffende Umsetzung von Haydns Oratorium hat Rene Jacobs da vorgelegt! Tonmalereien, die das Freiburger Barockorchester mit großem Spaß und Können darbietet. Wer wissen will, wie man sich 1801 Natur und Landleben vorstellte, der kann es jetzt hören!"


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