- Die Schöpfung (The Creation), oratorio, H. 21/2
Even though Franz Joseph Haydn's "Die Schöpfung" is played on modern instruments in this 2013 live performance, Bernard Haitink and the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Choir give it a lot of period style, if not a thorough historical reading. In some ways, this seems to be the approach many modern conductors and orchestras have adopted in the face of developments in the movement for historically informed performances, and just short of replacing the musicians with an original instruments ensemble, it seems easier to adopt techniques and tone colors that come closest to those of the Classical era. Haitink employs brisk tempos, maintains clear textures, and draws out crisp, distinctive sonorities that sound of the period, especially in the woodwinds and in the use of a fortepiano in the continuo, so it would be easy on a first hearing to mistake this recording for a full-blown period interpretation. Additionally, the choir seems streamlined in size and quite limber in its counterpoint, so the effort to render Haydn's great oratorio in a manner he would have appreciated is earnest. The trio of soprano Camilla Tilling, tenor Mark Padmore, and bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann is well-matched, and their restrained vocal styles are suitable for their solos. Unfortunately, BR Klassik's audio is somewhat shallow, dry, and at times distant, so much of the effect is lost to the flat recording and fairly unresponsive acoustics. Still, with a little volume adjustment, it is possible to enjoy this remarkable performance, even though the recording should have been presented in the multichannel format to do it justice.