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April 9   -   Guardian

Haydn: The Seasons review – glorious

Sampson/Ovendon/Foster-Williams, National Forum of Music Choir, Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, Gabrieli Consort & Players/McCreesh (Signum)

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! From the rasping horns of the hunt, through the burbling wind and (occasionally scratchy) strings, the score conjures up the glories of the countryside through the changing year, with storms, streams and shady groves. McCreesh’s fresh new translation animates the top-class solo singing, while the massed choruses blow the roof off. Glorious.

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