(an Oratorio for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra. Featuring : soprano Krisztina Laki ; tenor Helmut Wildhaber ; bass Peter Lika ; backed by the Choir of the Flanders Opera, and La Petite Bande, conducted by Sigiswald Kuijken)
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), the legendary Austrian composer, was starting to witness his bodily health, if not his mental capacities, begin to flag, by the end of the 18C : When he conducted the premiere of his magnificent 1799 work, 'The Creation', he later recalled, "One moment I was cold as ice all over, the next I was on fire; more than once I was afraid I should have a stroke." It seems the enraptured audience were mostly, or completely, unaware of Haydn's fears for himself ... Soon, there was talk of a sequel to 'The Creation'. Haydn's spirit was willing enough but, as he feared, the flesh was weakening, and as bodily conditions slowly encroached on the Grand Old Man, he found writing a strain.
Soon, however, Joseph and his librettist, the Baron Gottfried van Swieten, came round to a happier choice of sequel, namely a work based on James Thomson's popular early 18C poem, 'The Seasons'. Happier, because the poem avoided the traditional Christian view of a world estranged from God and in need of redemption ; for Thomson, Creation had Not fallen along with Man - the Divine work was unsullied, and by contemplating it human beings could still rise above their limitations, and reach deeper knowledge of God.
Despite some unfortunate, ensuing disagreements between the two men, van Swieten and Haydn still produced a masterpiece, one that can even be said, to be the first to look forward to Ludwig van Beethoven's, 'Pastoral' Symphony No.6 ...
Disc One : The Seasons, by Haydn :-
1)-8) Spring (33:36)
9)-18) Summer (38:36)
Disc Two : The Seasons, conclusion :-
1)-10) Autumn (37:51)
11)-21) Winter (31:27)
Both discs are in EX condition.
EX+ condition 95-page book contains full libretto in English, French and German.