Boston Baroque - Haydn Creation - Musical Toronto

Boston Baroque and its founding artistic director Martin Pearlman have done Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) proud in a sparkling new recording of The Creation, one of the masterworks of the oratorio repertoire.

The Viennese composer was so impressed by the oratorios of George Frideric Handel, that he had to write one of his own. The 1798 result, based on the Book of Genesis and John Milton's Paradise Lost, was an instant hit, its popularity quickly spreading to other parts of Europe.

Haydn, already Europe's most popular and revered composer, went back to this new well of inspiration to write The Seasons, which played perfectly into the budding Romantic movement and its love of Nature.

There was an English libretto of The Creation translated for the three-part work during Haydn's lifetime, but Boston Baroque have chosen to sing the succession of recitatives, arias and choruses in the original German, because "it fits the notes more convincingly," writes Pearlman in his notes.

In fact, the whole interpretation is convincing, dramatic and multi-layered. The period-instrument orchestra and impeccably balanced chorus are the life force here.

Pearlman succeeds in capturing all the colour of animals and other living things teeming on God's newly formed planet. He  shapes the opening of the piece in a way that can impress even our jaded modern ears, as Haydn depicts the Classical world's depiction of the Big Bang.

Musical Toronto
24 July 2012