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Haydn’s The Seasons has always existed somewhat in the shadow of his hugely popular Creation. This is strange because musically it has all the lyrical and melodic qualities of the earlier oratorio with the addition of some wonderfully effective dramatic writing.

Soloist - Miah Persson, photograph © Mina Artistbilder

The best example is probably the famous hunting chorus – ‘Hört das laute Getön’ – in Autumn which, in this recording, features the LSO wind and particularly the horns at their spectacular best.

The explanation for the The Seasons’ lesser popularity probably lies in the hybrid nature of its text. The libretto was by Gottfried van Swieten, the librettist for The Creation, and was based on a poem by the English poet James Thomson. As Haydn was very popular in England at the time, he wanted his oratorio to have a text that could be sung in English as well as in German. So, van Swieten translated his German text back into English. This translation did not appeal to contemporary critics when the new oratorio was given its first English performances. 

The great acclaim with which this recording – using the original German text – has been received, should finally convince doubters that The Seasons is every bit as good a work as its more famous predecessor. With the LSO and Sir Colin Davis at the top of their game, and with a trio of talented young soloists, the rehearsal and recording period were amongst the most enjoyable of the many projects undertaken by LSO Live in its illustrious ten year history. Everybody involved with the performances and recording had a very enjoyable time. 

After the final concert Sir Colin sat in the conductors’ green room with a broad grin on his face and a glass of single malt in his hand. ‘You know, I really did enjoy that’, he said. We hope this recording will convey to everyone who listens to it all the infectious enthusiasm of a very special evening.`

James Mallinson, LSO Live Producer

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