£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK
Download: Classicsonline

 

Josef HAYDN (1732-1809)
Die Jahreszeiten (1801) [131:13]
Christiane Oelze (soprano); Scot Weir (tenor); Peter Lika (bass)
RIAS Kammerchor
The Chamber of Orchestra of Europe/Sir Roger Norrington
rec. live, Kammermusiksaal der Philharmonie, Berlin, September 1991. DDD
HÄNSSLER PH07076 [65:37 + 65:36] 
Experience Classicsonline


Haydn’s evergreen oratorio was composed in the hope that he and his librettist, van Swieten, would have a popular success along the lines of the Creation.  That wasn’t to be: the Creation has always been much more popular, and it’s easy to see why.  There is almost no dramatic cohesion between the different sections of the Seasons, save three rather tokenistic stock characters (the soloists) who appear in each section.  The bucolic imagery can get a little wearing too: all is well in this idyllic pastoral scene, even in the depths of Winter, and it lacks the tension and elation to be found in The Creation.  There are some similarities, however, most notably where Haydn allows himself to depict nature in an autumnal hunt and especially in the way various creatures (sheep, fish, bees) respond to the awakening Springtime.
 

Norrington revels in these episodes and it is here that we can most clearly sense his affinity with this score.  The episode depicting the different animals (CD1, track 8) is full of humour and attention to detail with characterful contributions from each section of the orchestra.  Similarly, the orchestral hunt rollicks along nicely with lusty contributions from the chorus.  In many ways the RIAS Kammerchor are the most appealing thing about this set.  Impeccably trained, they attack every entry with vigour and it is really exciting to hear each complex chorus build from its opening.  They are at their best in the two great hymns: to the sun (CD1, track 12) and to the benefits of industry (CD2, track 3) and they support the soloists well when required to sing together, helped by the enviable acoustic of the Philharmonie’s Chamber Music Room. 

Norrington is at home in this score.  The miniature tone poems that begin each section unfold naturally, though the opening of CD 1 is rather alarming with no opening silence at all!  I wonder if this was an editing error?  This repertoire has always suited him best.  He first came to widespread attention with his London performances of Mozart and Beethoven, and while his move to Stuttgart has seen him dabbling in Mahler and Bruckner with varying levels of success, this repertoire seems to fit him like a glove.  His tempi are well judged and benefit from his extensive experience of period performance.  The COE respond just as well: while playing on modern instruments - except what sound like natural trumpets and period timpani - they are famous for their adherence to period style; witness their Beethoven recordings with Harnoncourt.  So in many ways this performance gives us the best of both worlds: we avoid the rather severe period sound from Jacobs and the Freiburgers (Harmonia Mundi) and the Karajan soup he serves up with the BPO on EMI, though with an incredible trio of soloists. 

Norrington’s soloists are fairly middle of the road.  Peter Lika is disappointing, with too much gritty tone.  Christiane Oelze is crystal clear, however, and really makes you sit up and notice.  Scot Weir is also pleasingly mellifluous, especially in his Cavatina in Part 2 (CD1, track 15).  The “live-ness” of the recording is barely noticeable, save a few coughs and some enthusiastic applause at the very end, though at the start the chorus feel a little recessed. 

So this Seasons is a fine addition to the catalogue, if a little nondescript.  One wonders why Hänssler have chosen to release it 17 years after they recorded it?  While it does steer a middle road between traditional and period performance, that means that it is in danger of falling between two stools.  Having heard this, I still have a strong liking for Gardiner’s version (DG) which conforms to period style without the often harsh severity of Jacobs.  A reliable release for Norrington fans, however.  The documentation contains German texts and English translations though, frustratingly, at opposite ends of the booklet.

Simon Thompson


 




 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.