HAYDN The Creation • John Nelson, cond; Lisa Milne (Gabriel); Werner Güra (Uriel); Matthew Rose (Raphael); Lucy Crowe (Eve); Jonathan Beyer (Adam); Netherlands R Ch & CP • EUROARTS 3079378 (DVD: 142:00) Live: Naarden 6/2010 Read more This DVD is seldom the last word in precision or musicology (the instruments are modern, with hard drumsticks, a couple of wooden flutes, and a piano), but—far more importantly—it brings us a very serious performance that radiates constant joy. Lisa Milne and Werner Güra not only sing gloriously but express joyous feelings throughout. The bass gets to deliver all the heavy messages, and Matthew Rose never cracks a smile, but his superb singing (especially at low dynamic levels) adds to the rosy picture. Instrumentalists, too—flute, clarinet, and bassoon—seem to take enormous pleasure in delivering their solos, and even a second trombonist gets into it. The performance takes just under 99 minutes, which is more or less consensus today. The visual aspects supply more interest and value than usual, from the light interiors of a plain Dutch church (in Naarden, a picturesque small town we view from the air in the opening minute) to the persons of Adam and Eve, he a strong young giant, she a wee thing not quite reaching his shoulder, which tells us much of the perceptions of man and woman in Haydn’s era and also accords with the text of the oratorio. Visual direction is imaginative yet simple: We glimpse a soloist through the golden curlicues of an electric-candled chandelier; the cameras always find the right view and linger just long enough. Video quality (NTSC 16:9) is good but not spectacular (backgrounds can be slightly out of focus). Audio comes only in PCM stereo, which saves Haydn from being blown out of proportion.
The orchestra is a large one; strings are 10-8-6-5-3. The chorus, too, is enormous: 17-14-13-11. Conductor John Nelson has few if any mannerisms, occasionally smiling at a nicely turned instrumental solo, but he is firmly in command, as we also learn from a fascinating 26-minute bonus: a rehearsal, in which he not only instructs the orchestra but tells us what he thinks about the music and why. Which brings us to the single negative point about this recording. In the old church, violins are dull (at first I thought they might have gut strings) and lower strings sound somewhat congested. In the modern rehearsal room (which looks like a proper recording studio), the orchestra is far more vibrant. Every instrument benefits, although not the vocalists, who are not well miked and may not be singing all out at rehearsal.
Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this DVD; it is the most enjoyable Creation I have seen, if not quite up to the finest heard on CDs.
FANFARE: James H. North
Picture format DVD: NTSC 16:9
Sounds formats DVD: PCM Stereo
Region code: 0
Subtitles: German, English, French
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 172 mins (142 mins Concert + 30 mins Bonus) Read less
Works on This Recording
The Creation, H 21 no 2by Franz Joseph Haydn Performer:
Lucy Crowe (Soprano),
Jonathan Beyer (Baritone),
Werner Güra (Tenor),
Lisa Milne (Soprano),
Matthew Rose (Bass)
Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic,
Netherlands Radio Chamber Chorus
Period: Classical Written: 1796-1798; Vienna, Austria
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
A Joyous Account of "Creation"February 25, 2014By Peter K. (Fort Collins, CO)See All My Reviews"I love this DVD filmed live in Holland at a lovely church on a sunny day. What can be more in keeping with Haydn's splendid oratorio? The singers are excellent, the orchestra crisp and energetic, and the conducting is superb. A great value and a treasure I will come back to time and again!"Report Abuse