Haydn: The Seasons

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Haydn: The Seasons


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24th March 2017

Gramophone Awards 2017

Finalist - Choral

Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - June 2017



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24th March 2017




2 hours 12 minutes


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Haydn: The Seasons

Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Jeremy Ovenden (tenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)

Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh

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Read our exclusive interview with Paul McCreesh about the recording here, and Katherine's full review of the disc here.

The Gabrieli Consort continue their series of award-winning collaborations with the National Forum of Music, Wrocław, 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, 10 horns and a choir of 70. As well as the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Wrocław 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 booklet texts are printed in both English and Polish translations.

Franz Joseph Haydn: The Seasons, Hob.XXI:3

Spring: No. 1, See Winter, Stern and Gloomy, Flees (Introduction & Accompagnato)

Spring: No. 2, Come, Gentle Spring! (Chorus)

Spring: No. 3, From Aries Shines the Bright'ning Sun (Recitative)

Spring: No. 4, With Eagerness the Countryman Sets Forth (Song)

Spring: No. 5, The Countryman has Paid his Dues (Recitative)

Spring: No. 6, Heav'n be Gracious, Heav'n be Bounteous (Chorus with Solos)

Spring: No. 7, Our Fervent Pray’rs are Heard (Introduction & Accompagnato)

Spring: No. 8, O What Charming Sights Delight Us (Duet)

Summer: No. 9, In Darkness Shrouded (Introduction & Accompaniment)

Summer: No. 10, The Wakeful Herdsman (Song)

Summer: No. 11, Behold the Sun! (Chorus with Solos)

Summer: No. 12, The Village Lads and Lasses (Recitative)

Summer: No. 13, Exhausted Nature, Fainting, Sinks (Cavatina)

Summer: No. 14, How Welcome Now, Ye Shady Groves! (Recitative)

Summer: No. 15, How Refreshing to the Senses (Aria)

Summer: No. 16, Behold, Arising Through the Sultry Air (Recitative)

Summer: No. 17, Ah! The Storm Approaches Near! (Chorus)

Autumn: No. 18, That Which Spring has Promis’d (Introduction, Accompaniment & Recitative)

Autumn: No. 19, Thus Nature Rewards our Toil! (Trio)

Autumn: No. 20, See How a Bunch of Eager Lads (Recitative)

Autumn: No. 21, Fine Ladies of the Town (Duet)

Autumn: No. 22, On Ravag’d Hills (Recitative)

Autumn: No. 23, See Lo on Yonder Open Field (Song)

Autumn: No. 24, A Tight’ning Circle of Hunters (Recitative & Accompaniment)

Autumn: No. 25, Hark, Hear the Sounds of the Chase (Chorus)

Autumn: No. 26, On Vines, the Grapes are Glistening (Recitative)

Autumn: No. 27, Drink Up, Drink Up, the Wine is Here! (Chorus)

Winter: No. 28, The Jaded Year Now Fades Away (Introduction & Accompaniment)

Winter: No. 29, Light and Life are Enfeebl’d (Cavatina)

Winter: No. 30, The Lake Lies Lock’d in Frosty Grip (Recitative & Accompaniment)

Winter: No. 31, The Wand’rer Stands Perplex’d (Aria)

Winter: No. 32, And Drawing Near the Welcome Sight (Recitative & Accompaniment)

Winter: No. 33, Whirring, Whirring, Whirring! (Song with Chorus)

Winter: No. 34, Now the Flax has all been Spun (Recitative)

Winter: No. 35, A Noble Squire, of Great Renown (Song with Chorus)

Winter: No. 36, And From the East there Blows an Icy Blast (Recitative)

Winter: No. 37, Consider then, Misguided Man (Song & Accompaniment)

Winter: No. 38, Then Dawns that Morn so Glorious (Double Chorus with Solos)

Presto Classical

Katherine Cooper

24th March 2017

“McCreesh’s new translation is a triumph, and will surely have an illustrious career beyond this recording...One of the great joys of this set is the huge dynamic and emotional range afforded by the expanded forces – the introspective recitatives are, in their way, as spine-tingling as the 70-strong chorus belting out their lusty paeans to wine, women and weather.”

Early Music Review

27th March 2017

“The opening thunderous wallop on the timpani will warn you that this is a recording of some drama and punch...If you are not familiar with The Seasons, this is the recording to go for. Paul McCreesh's English translation is excellent, the singing and orchestral playing is outstanding.”

Gramophone Magazine

May 2017

“What emphatically sets this Seasons apart from all previous recordings, whatever the language, is the scale…the big choruses, toppled by a shining, un-wobbly soprano line, generate a visceral excitement unmatched by any rivals. 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.”

The Observer

9th April 2017

“This successor to Haydn’s Creation has often felt in the shadow of the earlier masterpiece, but this recording brings it thrillingly to life. Avoiding the early-music tendency to small forces, Paul McCreesh assembles a massive throng of singers and players, the numbers that might have performed the piece in 1801. And what a noise they make!...McCreesh’s fresh new translation animates the top-class solo singing, while the massed choruses blow the roof off. Glorious.”

Sunday Times

16th April 2017

“Much is splendid: the big hunting, drinking and spinning choruses, for example”

BBC Music Magazine

June 2017

“the performance matches the high standards of McCreesh's previous grand choral projects...McCreesh revels in Haydn's masterly skills in writing for orchestra, choir and soloists...The choir's tone is full-bodied yet never heavy...The soloists are expertly chosen...while McCreesh's conducting is responsive to every subtle shade within Haydn's grand spiritual vision.”

Classical Ear

May 2017


“the playing is magnificent… eloquence is consistently uppermost, stemming from McCreesh’s singular passion shared with musicians who likewise respond passionately to every facet… superlative, all-encompassing performance”

Early Music Today

May 2017

“Some of the most satisfying moments come from the fine orchestral playing, in particular featuring some exquisitely lovely wind playing.”

MusicWeb International

July 2017

“the singers are an unmitigated pleasure to hear… top marks for Paul McCreesh’s latest achievement in large-scale Haydn performance”

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