René Jacobs

Haydn: Die Schöpfung

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AllMusic Review by

Franz Joseph Haydn's Die Schöpfung (The Creation) is one of the greatest oratorios, beloved for its moving religious content and admired for its abundant melodies, stirring choruses, imaginative scene-painting, and colorful orchestration. An argument can be made that period instrumentation and historically informed performance practices give a real boost to Haydn's scoring and effects, in ways conventional modern ensembles can't, and experts in early music make it especially striking by employing the sonorities the composer would have known and wanted. René Jacobs and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra provide the authentic and distinctive timbres of a Classical ensemble (which are put to impressive effect in the opening Chaos music), and which range from the light, quaint accompaniment of a fortepiano to the sunny brilliance of the full orchestra. The RIAS Chamber Choir is full and robust while maintaining the speed and alertness one might expect of a much smaller group, and the choruses are attention grabbers, especially the perennial favorite, "Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes." The trio of soprano Julia Kleiter (Gabriel, Eva), tenor Maximilian Schmitt (Uriel), and bass Johannes Weisser (Raphael, Adam) is a fine group of vocalists that is a pleasure to listen to, and it is subtle in its use of appropriate ornamentation. Harmonia Mundi's production values are exemplary, and the audio of this double-disc set is marvelous for its clarity and radiant ambience, giving the performers remarkable presence and vibrancy. Highly recommended.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Die Schöpfung
1 5:20
2 2:35
3 3:50
4 1:51
5 2:17
6 0:35
7 3:20
8 0:32
9 5:01
10 0:11
11 2:08
12 0:35
13 2:26
14 4:08
15 0:27
16 7:20
17 1:56
18 0:21
19 6:36
20 0:36
21 2:53
22 3:00
23 0:39
24 3:52
25 0:22
26 9:53
blue highlight denotes track pick