Haydn: The Seasons (1801)

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Haydn: The Seasons (1801)
Carolyn Sampson (sop) Jeremy Ovenden (ten) / Gabrieli Consort & Players, National Forum of Music Choir, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra, Paul McCreesh (cond

[ Signum / 2 CD Box Set ]

Release Date: Friday 24 March 2017

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The Gabrieli Consort continue their series of award-winning collaborations with the National Forum of Music, Wroclaw, Poland with a new version of Haydn's great oratorio The Seasons.

Using a new performing edition by Paul McCreesh this recording is the first to feature the large orchestral forces that Haydn called for, including a string section of 60, 8 horns and a choir of 70. As well as the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra and National Forum of Music Choir, the recording features solo performances from British singers Carolyn Sampson, Jeremy Ovenden and Andrew Foster-Williams.

"The opening thunderous wallop on the timpani will warn you that this is a recording of some drama and punch...If you are not familiar with The Seasons, this is the recording to go for. Paul McCreesh's English translation is excellent, the singing and orchestral playing is outstanding." Early Music Review

"What emphatically sets this Seasons apart from all previous recordings, whatever the language, is the scale…the big choruses, toppled by a shining, un-wobbly soprano line, generate a visceral excitement unmatched by any rivals. In the cataclysmic thunderstorm, rasping, minatory brass to the fore, the terrified populace evokes Verdi's 'Dies Irae', while the autumn hunt, raucously fuelled by anarchic natural horns, has never sounded more uninhibitedly exuberant. In the wine harvest, with its final tipsy fugue, McCreesh conjures a Burgenland bacchanalia to rival Jacobs -high praise indeed. McCreesh and his massed Anglo-Polish forces have given us a Seasons that thrillingly catches both the work's bucolic exhilaration and its invocations of the sublime. And for sheer sonic splendour it's in a class of its own." Gramophone Award Nomination 2017 - Best Choral recording

"This successor to Haydn's Creation has often felt in the shadow of the earlier masterpiece, but this recording brings it thrillingly to life. Avoiding the early-music tendency to small forces, Paul McCreesh assembles a massive throng of singers and players, the numbers that might have performed the piece in 1801. And what a noise they make!...McCreesh's fresh new translation animates the top-class solo singing, while the massed choruses blow the roof off. Glorious." The Observer

"the performance matches the high standards of McCreesh's previous grand choral projects...McCreesh revels in Haydn's masterly skills in writing for orchestra, choir and soloists...The choir's tone is full-bodied yet never heavy...The soloists are expertly chosen...while McCreesh's conducting is responsive to every subtle shade within Haydn's grand spiritual vision." BBC Music Choral & Song Choice June 2017




1 Introduction & Accompagnato: See Winter, Stern and Gloomy, Flees
2 Chorus: Come, gentle Spring!
3 Recitative: From Aries Shines the Bright'ning Sun
4 Song: With Eagerness the Countryman Sets Forth
5 Recitative: The Countryman has Paid his Dues
6 Chorus with Solos: Heav'n be gracious, Heav'n be Bounteous
7 Introduction & Accompagnato: Our fervent pray'rs are heard
8 Duet: O what charming sights delight us


9 Introduction & Accompagnato: In darkness shrouded
10 Song: The wakeful herdsman
11 Chorus with Solos: Behold the Sun!
12 Recitative: The village lads and lasses
13 Cavatina: Exhausted Nature, fainting, sinks
14 Accompagnato: How welcome now, ye shady groves!
15 Song: How refreshing to the senses
16 Recitative: Behold,arising through the sultry air
17 ChorusWithSolos: Ah!The storm approaches near!



1 Introduction, Accompagnato & Recitative: That which Spring has promis'd
2 Trio: Thus Nature rewards our toil!
3 Recitative: See how a bunch of eager lads
4 Duet: Fine ladies of the town
5 Recitative: On ravag'd hills
6 Song: See lo on yonder open field
7 Recitative & Accompagnato: A tight'ning circle of hunters
8 Chorus: Hark, hear the sounds of the chase
9 Recitative: On vines, the grapes are glistening
10 Chorus: Drink up, drink up, the wine is here!


11 Introduction & Accompagnato: The jaded year now fades away
12 Cavatina: Light and life are enfeebl'd
13 Recitative & Accompagnato: The lake lies lock'd in frosty grip
14 Song: The wand'rer stands perplex'd
15 Recitative & Accompagnato: And drawing near the welcome sight
16 Song with Chorus:Whirring,whirring,whirring!
17 Recitative: Now the flax has all been spun
18 Song with Chorus: A noble squire, of great renown
19 Recitative:And from the east there blows an icy blast
20 Song & Accompagnato: Consider then, misguided man
21 Double Chorus with Solos: Then dawns that morn so glorious