- Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), oratorio, H. 21/3
When Thomas Beecham died and went to heaven, he no doubt took God aside and said to Him, "Look here Old Boy, You have done a dashed fine job of creating time and space and so on and so forth. But, I say, listen to my recording of "The Seasons": nearly as fine as the real thing, don't you think?" And no doubt the Almighty agreed with Beecham: his "The Seasons" is nearly as fine. As it turns out, Beecham pretty much created the Royal Philharmonic and the Beecham Choral Society with his own two hands and they in turn perform like all creation praising their patrician lord with awe and bottomless gratitude. And Beecham, like a patrician lord, has fun with his creation, forcing them to perform better than their best through fear and reward and taking deep pleasure in watching them succeed. Beecham's "The Seasons" is tremendous and wonderful and sublime and, in its own patrician way, human and even humble. Because, as fine as his "The Seasons" is, it was Beecham's own humility in the face of great art and humanity in the face of the Almighty that no doubt got him into heaven in the first place. And no doubt Beecham had "The Seasons" sung in English because, God is, among other things, an Englishman. EMI was making dashed fine recordings in 1959 and with its clarity, its warmth, and its depth, Beecham's recording of "The Seasons" is as fine as the best made now.