Thomas Hengelbrock / Balthasar-Neumann-Chor

Haydn: Die Schöpfung

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AllMusic Review by

Even as a historically informed performance of Franz Joseph Haydn's Die Schöpfung, this rendition by Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar-Neumann-Choir and Ensemble is not overly stylized, and it is sometimes hard to tell how it differs much from a modern, mainstream version. The strings are played with minimal vibrato and the winds have some of the distinctive sound of period instruments, but there's really no exaggeration of effects to make a didactic point, nor any mannerism in the playing that would give it away as a period interpretation. It seems that aspects of Classical practice have been so well absorbed that many ensembles have incorporated them thoroughly and can employ them without being obvious. In any event, the singing actually dominates this performance, so the superb soloists and choir make the instruments take second place. The three angels -- soprano Simone Kermes (Gabriel), tenor Steve Davislim (Uriel), and bass-baritone Johannes Mannov (Raphael) -- offer delightful solos as well as well-balanced trios, and soprano Dorothee Mields (Eva) and baritone Locky Chung (Adam) are ingenuous in their duets. But the choir almost steals the show in its numbers because it demonstrates an astonishing agility in the rapid parts and a lightness that makes everything fully audible. Listeners who want an authentic re-creation of this oratorio that is intelligently interpreted and performed by personable singers will appreciate this recording.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Die Schöpfung (The Creation), oratorio, H. 21/2
1
5:03
2
2:32
3
3:47
4
1:56
5
2:04
6
0:39
7
3:44
8
0:33
9
5:14
10
0:10
11
2:06
12
0:40
13
2:48
14
3:46
15
0:22
16
7:46
17
1:55
18
0:22
19
6:36
20
0:23
21
3:08
22
3:14
23
0:33
24
3:28
25
0:23
26
8:34
blue highlight denotes track pick