Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recorded in 1989, this has remained my preferred modern-instrument edition of The Creation since I reviewed it in Fanfare 14:6. The performance is light and fast, with woodwinds to the fore (judging from their dry sound, the horns may be period instruments). It misses some of the grandeur of older oratorio-style versions by the likes of Karajan and Bernstein, but it more than makes up for that with its effervescent high spirits. Marriner’s superb vocal soloists set this apart from other modern-instrument recordings. This Creation may be Barbara Bonney’s finest hour: she is magnificent throughout, shining above vocal ensembles as well as in her arias; she manages the performance’s limited amount of ornamentation superbly. Blochwitz and Rootering are nearly as fine, as are Wiens and Bär in part III. The small chorus is excellent, as is the orchestra. A not-too-subtle fortepiano accompanies the recitatives. EMI’s recording captures everything in clear, clean sound that has plenty of impact for the big moments.
-- James H. North, FANFARE