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Haydn: The Seasons / René Jacobs, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Release Date: 09/14/2004 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 901829/30   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Marlis PetersenWerner GüraDietrich Henschel
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber ChorusFreiburg Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This title is also available in Super Audio CD Format.

Complete review from the Gramophone magazine:

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
Read more 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
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Works on This Recording

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 

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