The Gabrieli Consort continue their series of award-winning collaborations with the National Forum of Music, Wroclaw, Poland with a new version of Haydn’s great oratorio The Seasons. Using a new performing edition by Paul McCreesh, this recording is the first to feature the large orchestral forces that Haydn called for, including a string section of 60, 8 horns and a choir of 70. As well as the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra and National Forum of Music Choir, the recording features solo performances from British singers Carolyn Sampson, Jeremy Ovenden and Andrew Foster-Williams. All physical and digital booklet texts are provided in both English and Polish translations.
In the cataclysmic thunderstorm, rasping, minatory brass to the fore, the terrified populace evokes Verdi's 'Dies Irae', while the autumn hunt, raucously fuelled by anarchic natural horns, has never sounded more uninhibitedly exuberant. In the wine harvest, with its final tipsy fugue, McCreesh conjures a Burgenland bacchanalia to rival Jacobs -high praise indeed. McCreesh and his massed Anglo-Polish forces have given us a Seasons that thrillingly catches both the work's bucolic exhilaration and its invocations of the sublime. And for sheer sonic splendour it's in a class of its own.