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Haydn: Creation / Bostridge, Henschel, Matthews, Davis, London SO

Release Date: 06/09/2009 
Label:  Lso Live   Catalog #: 628   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Ian BostridgeDietrich HenschelSally Matthews
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony ChorusLondon Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mixed 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


HAYDN The Creation Colin Davis, cond; Sally Matthews ( Gabriel, Eve ); Ian Bostridge ( Uriel ); Dietrich Henschel ( Raphael, Adam ); London SO & Ch
Read more LSO LIVE 628 (2 Hybrid multichannel SACDs: 102:49) Live: London 10/6–7/2007

Colin Davis’s natural flair for Haydn is well known from his classic account of the “London” Symphonies on Philips, and now he applies it to one of Haydn’s two great late oratorios, the German version of The Creation . If you know Davis’s symphony recordings, you won’t be surprised by the great character of the orchestral playing here, and not just in the fanciful, imitative “animal music” of part 2, where you’ll find such delightful details as a prominent, flowing bass line in the whale aria. Davis remains conscious that this is a Classical work requiring some poise, not a Baroque extravaganza, so his reading is not given to extremes, but it possesses an unfailing vivacity. Just listen to the splendid burst of primeval light at the end of the first chorus, following a suspenseful delivery of the “Representation of Chaos.” The London Symphony Orchestra is working with slightly reduced forces, about 60 players on modern instruments, which seems about right, for Haydn had a big band at his disposal by the standards of his time. The chorus seems just a bit too large, for some of its text gets swallowed, but overall the singing is as lithe and rhythmically precise as necessary. Among the soloists, soprano Sally Matthews indulges in more fluttery vibrato in her bird aria than is really necessary, but she does handle her coloratura material with aplomb. Tenor Ian Bostridge is self-recommending; as always, he delivers real insights into his text with ravishing sound—he never has to choose between interpretation and beauty of tone. Baritone Dietrich Henschel is a far more restrained interpreter, but he gets the job done, and with a more appealing sound than he musters for William Christie’s recording on Virgin. Unusually for an LSO recording from the Barbican, this one has a bit more elbowroom than usual. The sonics are bright, clear, and close, but not spotlit—and not as desiccated as most recordings from this source, and they allow the performers to work within a very wide dynamic range.

The SACD competition at this writing consists of Ivor Bolton on Oehms Classics, which I have not heard, and a good period-instrument version on Naxos under Andreas Spering, who is more given to extremes and less comfortable with subtle nuance than is Davis. I would not hesitate to recommend this LSO Live production to anyone looking for a modern-instrument performance of Die Schöpfung in either multichannel or conventional stereo sound.

FANFARE: James Reel

'The LSO's magnificent playing is an immediate reminder of the impact of Davis's conducting. He has chosen excellent soloists for their various roles and the chorus are in superb voice' ***** Sunday Telegraph (UK)

'The best modern edition in German to come around for years. The singing is superb, the soloists all the more so (especially the radiant Sally Matthews). This is one of their best releases to date, with lovely surround sound adding much to the presentation. This is truly a wonderful achievement' ***** Audiophile Audition (US)

'Colin Davis has long been one of Haydn's supreme interpreters: behind the classicism he sees the wit and passion. All these elements shine through in his performance of The Creation. Sally Matthews and Dietrich Henschel match the exuberance of Davis's interpretation' Financial Times (UK)

'the work emerged in all its awesome glory' New York Times (US) concert review

'a reading that was completely faithful to the spirit of the composer's inspiration ... the excellence of the LSO cannot be too highly emphasised. The music sounded fresh and vital - as it is, of course, in essence. Sally Matthews's radiant soprano was a consistent joy ... Above all, it was Davis's patrician and affectionate presiding over the proceedings which makes one hope that the recording will be one to cherish' Classicalsource.com (UK) concert review
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Works on This Recording

The Creation, H 21 no 2 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Dietrich Henschel (Baritone), Sally Matthews (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1798; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Should have been done in Englsih October 17, 2014 By Morris Reagan (Madison, MS) See All My Reviews "What a surprise and a shame that this work is performed in German rather than in English. Haydn emphasized that he wanted his oratorio performed in the vernacular, and when he published The Creation himself by subscription in 1800 he published it with both German and English words. Colin Davis offered a superb performance of Haydn's final oratorio, The Seasons, IN ENGLISH. And the soloists in his CD of The Seasons (Heather Harper, Helen Watts and John Shirley-Quirk) make this recording of The Seasons the one to have. Why would anyone even want to record The Seasons after this wonderful Davis performance. For my money the best recording of The Creation (Die Schoepfung) IN GERMAN is the 1955 monaural recording by Mogens Woldike of the Vanguard label. The fidelity is first class, and the monaural format is only a slight detraction," Report Abuse
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