Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here is the fine German performing tradition at its best. Keen scholarship, professional thoroughness and a shared love of music are all shown or felt to be present. And what music it is, its own creativeness the most wonderful testimony to the wonder of Creation itself. Year by year it grows in the mind (there was a time in youth when privately I thought it square and unappetizingly worthy). Also (and this must have something to do with our own increasing awareness of peril) it is a work that induces a passion of feeling, latent in the score and certainly deep in its Miltonic background, that all this clean, early-morning zest and beauty confronts us with our shame. A primly eighteenth-century Creation (and on replaying I found Hogwood not
entirely beyond some such imputation) satisfies no more than does an old-fashioned romantic and weighted one. That would not be an apt description of the Levine recording, but the relative slowness of speeds for the big choruses thickens it somewhat and the Overture is very nearly Wagnerian. Rilling, I would say, has it right: the grace, delicacy and nimbleness of mind and movement are there, and so too are the profundity and reverence.
As in the recent Beethoven Christus am Oelberge/Mass in C disc (Hanssler, 11/94) the acoustic is fairly reverberant, but, whereas in the Mass it had a dulling effect, here all is well, and one feels the work to be in a setting that is natural for it. The soloists are recorded close, possibly excessively so, the advantages being a vividness of presence and communication, and, in the numbers where soloists and chorus combine, an additional clarity. All three singers are admirable. Christine Schafer, sounding like a young Elly Ameling, brings a voice of lovely quality, a well-schooled technique and the simple freshness of approach that is so needful. The biographical note tells that the tenor, Michael Schade, has been compared with Nicolai Gedda, and one can see that too, especially in the trio (No. 18) where his solo has such lively rhythmic impetus (Gosta Winbergh, with Levine, sounding merely dutiful by comparison). So much is asked of the bass soloist that few succeed in everything, and perhaps in the first of his arias (No. 6) Andreas Schmidt could do with ampler power and depth but generally he is fine, and particularly impressive in the marvellous solo passage in No. 27.
Rilling has much to say about the work—some of it verbally in notes on matters of textual detail. He lets nothing drag, sometimes (notably in the repeated chorus of Part 2, Nos. 26 and 28) setting a brisk and risky tempo that keeps everyone on their toes and works well. His players once again exhibit their special distinction in the woodwind department. For many English-speaking listeners, The Creation will be a work they want to hear in English; but if that is not a prime requisite then this is a version with a great deal in its favour.'
-- Gramophone [12/1994]
Works on This Recording
The Creation, H 21 no 2 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Christine Schäfer (Soprano),
Michael Schade (Tenor),
Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Stuttgart Bach Collegium,
Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
Written: 1796-1798; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 09/1993
Venue: Grosser Saal, Stadthalle Sindelfingen
Length: 105 Minutes 59 Secs.
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