Of the two oratorios Haydn wrote in his old age The Creation is the more dramatic and immediate while The Seasons is more idyllic. It’s also a good deal longer, which to some extent explains why The Creation is regularly performed while its country cousin is a comparatively rare visitor to the concert hall. There is no denying that the later work contains a lot of good music and has a more folksy character; Austrian folk music is never far away. It is also has a more leisurely pace with long stretches of admittedly beautiful but slow and restrained music. There are moments of drama also, for example the end of part II, Summer (CD1 tracks 16 – 18), where in the recitative the soloists build up the tension. This describes how the air changes, the sky turns black, “the muted roar from the valley that announces the furious tempest”. We hear the timpani murmuring in the distance and suddenly lightning flashes, the thunder rolls and the people (the chorus) are dismayed and frightened. Harnoncourt makes the most of this, rhythmically alert and backed up by the excellent Arnold Schönberg-Choir. Suddenly the thunderstorm is over, the sun looks out again and the soloists and the choir rejoice.
‘Moses and Aaron' finds Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, through their exemplary craft, transforming a familiar Biblical tale into a borderline-surreal cinematic opera of seemingly endless possibility. In expressive, melodic tones, the fraternal pair debate God’s true message and intent for His creations, a conflict that leads their followers — in extravagantly choreographed song and dance — towards chaos and sin. Set almost entirely within a Roman amphitheater whose history lends every precise line-reading and gesture, every startling camera move and cut, a totalizing force, Straub-Huillet’s adaptation of Schoenberg’s unfinished opera opens us to the stimulating worldview of a filmmaking duo whose masterful efforts are finally coming to light. A new 2K restoration.
There's little doubt that to have heard Sutherland in 1961 must have been really something. It was the year she found New York, and New York found her. This recording, along with the live recording of her early 1961 New York debut in Beatrice di Tenda are legendary moments. Both are concert performances, conducted by Nicola Rescigno.
This Sonnambula was in Carnegie Hall in December and just after her Met debut. The voice is astonishing. The 'Ah, non guinge' is sung with almost wild abandon, absolutely thrilling, and was described the next day by Harold Schonberg as "flawlessly performed pyrotechnics".
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes were one of the very first groups to achieve global success for Philadelphia International Records within its first year as a CBS-distributed label. The 1972 release of two consecutive ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ ballads – ‘I Miss You’ and ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ – marked the start of a four-year association that yielded some of the most enduring recordings in contemporary soul music, in the process creating – with label founders Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff and a burgeoning coterie of talented songwriters, arrangers and musicians – a handful of timeless dance music classics including ‘The Love I Lost’, ‘Bad Luck’ and ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’.