- Die Schöpfung (The Creation), oratorio, H. 21/2
For this exceptional release on Linn Records, Martin Pearlman and the Boston Baroque bring their expertise in period practices to one of the greatest works of the Classical era, Franz Joseph Haydn's oratorio, "Die Schöpfung." Fans of historically informed performances won't be surprised by the group's fidelity to original instrumentation, historical techniques, and authentic style, for seeing Pearlman's name on any recording is a guarantee of scholarship and musical quality. Of course, seeing the words "The Creation" on the cover might be a little confusing, because this performance is not sung in English but in German, since Pearlman follows the text by Baron Gottfried van Swieten. Though both languages were used in the composer's time and could be considered suitable, the German is favored here because Haydn composed the music specifically for it. Yet apart from any consideration of which language is preferable, there is no disputing the bright and vibrant sound of the performance or the strength of the choir and the ensemble, which contribute to impressive choruses, notably "Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes," the most popular number. The trio of soprano Amanda Forsythe, tenor Keith Jameson, and bass-baritone Kevin Deas is attractive and well-matched in vocal style and ability, and their portrayals of the three angels and Adam and Eve follow the practice Haydn used in his performances. The hybrid SACD presentation is first-rate, and the musicians have phenomenal presence and clarity.