Haydn: The Creation. Ziesak, Lippert. Georg Solti. 1 DVD. Digital Classics

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Joseph Haydn: The Creation. Georg Solti. Ruth Ziesak, Herbert Lippert, Anton Scharinger and Reinhard Hagen sings along with the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Orchestra, which will be conducted by Sir Georg Solti, in a recording from 1993.

1 DVD. Digital Classics DC 10005

New product. Region 0 (can be played on all DVD players worldwide)

***Recommendation ***

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Joseph Haydn: The Creation. Ruth Ziesak, Herbert Lippert, Anton Scharinger and Reinhard Hagen sings along with the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Orchestra, which will be conducted by Sir Georg Solti, in a recording from 1993.

1 DVD Digital Classics. DC 10005

New product. Region 0 (can be played on all DVD players worldwide)

***Recommendation ***

 

 “…Sir Georg Solti's conducting is never indulgent but instead shows an affectionate willingness to let Haydn's music unfurl at a brisk pace. The lean and disciplined chorus is capable of elegant power and the orchestra is surprisingly crisp. There is a sense that all the participants are enjoying themselves, with Solti alert to the detail in Haydn's orchestral details and the soloists enraptured by the joyful mood of the performance. Judging from his broad smile after the last 'Amen' fades, Solti recognised that something special had just happened. He wasn't the only one.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2006
 


Solti's new Creation, recorded at three public concerts in 1993, is on the same grand scale as his earlier (1981) Chicago version, with combined choral and orchestral forces close to the 180 or so Haydn mustered in 1798. In many respects the two readings are similarly conceived: dramatic, physically powerful, tautly controlled, with impressive contributions from the Chicago chorus (a shade more firm-toned and flexible in 1993, with a notably fine tenor section, so often the Achilles heel of amateur choirs) and, particularly, the magnificent Chicago Symphony Orchestra. But Solti is now more authenticity-conscious than in 1981. He uses a fortepiano rather than a harpsichord in the recitatives, ensures that all appoggiaturas are observed, and encourages the soprano and tenor soloists to embellish their arias stylishly, often following the suggested ornamentation found in authentic Viennese sources. Tempos, too, are often noticeably quicker, nowhere more so than in the opening evocation of "Chaos". In 1981 Solti, like many other conductors, aimed here for a massive, Wagnerian breadth. Now he takes note of Haydn's alla breve time signature and what we know about tempo in the late eighteenth century; there is a palpable feeling of two large beats to the bar, and the music makes better sense. Unless my ears are playing tricks, Solti's new version also mutes the brass and timpani in "Chaos", following the earliest sources rather than the first printed edition.
The choir's disciplined vigour and Solti's characteristic drive and dynamism often make for exciting results in the great celebratory choruses, above all in the final numbers of Parts 2 and 3. At times, though, the rejoicing can become strenuous: "Die Himmel erzdhlen", the culmination of Part 1, is pushed on unforgivingly, the phrasing distinctly short-breathed, the rhythms tense and unyielding; and the fugal entries of "Stimmt an die Salten", likewise taken very swiftly, are punched out in an aggressively accented marcato. On the other hand, the trio and chorus in Part 2, "Der Herr ist gross", is superbly done: the rhythms really dance and the Chicago strings play with marvellous agility and delicacy.

Outstanding, too, in this number is the poised coloratura work of the soprano and tenor soloists. Ruth Ziesak, a Solti favourite, is equally persuasive in her avian aria, finding a hint of depth in the tone for the eagle, an impeccably executed trill for the doves and a languid tenderness for the nightingale. Her phrasing and ornamentation are unfailingly elegant, her top register clear and gleaming. The coloratura in "Nun beut die Flur" is also beautifully managed, though here Ziesak is a touch too coy and winsome for my taste. She makes a sensuous, submissive Eve, again rather more knowing and sophisticated than I find ideal. Herbert Lippert, an acclaimed Tamino at Covent Garden and on the recent Naxos ZauberflOte (7/94), uses his graceful, evenly produced tenor with style and imagination. He brings a mingled ardour and sense of wonder to his great aria hymning the creation of man and a melting pianissimo to the description of the first moonrise.

Rene Pape, another Solti regular, has as imposing a bass voice as I have heard in this work, rich, rounded and perfectly focused throughout its compass. Magnificently sonorous though he is, Pape sounds a shade uncomfortable with Solti's precipitate tempo in "Rollend in schaumenden Wellen" (even the limpid brook purls very determinedly), and in his long run breaks before each of the top notes (1'39" fl). His Part 2 aria celebrating the creation of the animals is done with real nobility and a fine, firm legato. Other singers have brought more relish and humour to the preceding zoological recitative; and so resonant is Pape's lower register that I was sorry he didn't descend to an illicit subterranean D on "Gewilrm". I can't quite see why Solti retained Ziesak as Eve but replaced Pape by Anton Scharinger as Adam (Haydn, incidentally, never used more than three soloists in the work). Still, Scharinger brings a virile, characterful baritone to his part and uses his words keenly. He sustains an expressive lyrical line at the opening of the duet "Holde Gattin", while he and Ziesak strike just the right balance of tenderness and Singspiel brio in the Allegro, abetted by delectably vital, light-footed orchestral playing.

Decca's spacious recording vividly captures the performances' exceptionally wide dynamic range. The choral-orchestral balance is well judged, though wind and, especially, brass detail can be submerged in the big numbers. For the most part the Chicago audience is preternaturally quiet. If some other versions of The Creation, including those by Marriner, Rattle (in English) and Bruno Weil, capture more consistently the work's sublime, joyous, spiritual innocence, this new recording is certainly an impressive achievement. It would get my vote over Solti's 1981 reading for its marginally finer choral singing, its more stylish, communicative soloists and, especially in the arias and solo ensembles, its greater spontaneity and dramatic flair.

-- Gramophone [5/1995] 
 

Reviews (1)

Anders Vinther

Jun 9, 2017
5
(5/5
I bibelen hedder det "Skabelsen", og det er også titlen på Haydns elskede værk om Gud, der skabte verden, menneskene og alle dyrene på seks dage.
I bibelen tog det som sagt seks dage. Og teksten i "Skabelsen" bygger blandt andet på 1. Mosebogs første kapitel, hvor der berettes om, hvordan Gud skabte orden af kaos. Hvordan han skabte den gode verden og anbragte mennesket som den mest værdifulde skabning.
I Haydns musik kan man bogstaveligt talt følge teksten i bibelen. Man kan høre kaos og det øjeblik, hvor der bliver lys. Og man kan høre lærken og ørnen, løven der brøler, den listige tiger og de hurtige antiloper.
Haydn komponerede "Skabelsen" i 1798
I 1993 indspillede Sir Georg Solti, Haydns Skabelsen for Decca. Den optagelse står stadig som den bedste man overhovedet kan købe på DVD. Ruth Ziesak der altid har været en af Soltis yndlingssopraner er selvfølgelig også med her. Tillige medvirker Herbert Lippert (tenor) Anton Scharringer (baritone) og Reinhard Hagen er bass. Som altid når det er Decca er lyden i top.



“…Sir Georg Solti's conducting is never indulgent but instead shows an affectionate willingness to let Haydn's music unfurl at a brisk pace. The lean and disciplined chorus is capable of elegant power and the orchestra is surprisingly crisp. There is a sense that all the participants are enjoying themselves, with Solti alert to the detail in Haydn's orchestral details and the soloists enraptured by the joyful mood of the performance. Judging from his broad smile after the last 'Amen' fades, Solti recognised that something special had just happened. He wasn't the only one.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2006
 
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