- Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), oratorio, H. 21/3
Thoroughly enjoyable if not especially affecting or particularly profound, Ivor Bolton's 2004 recording of Haydn's "Die Jahreszeiten" with the Mozarteum Orchestra will not displace the great recordings of the past, but will still provide enjoyable listening for those who already know the work well and can't wait to hear it again. Bolton's interpretation doesn't touch the emotional depths, but instead stays on the level of the literal, illustrating the beauties of nature Haydn's music describes. The Mozarteum Orchestra's performance doesn't reach the spiritual heights, but instead is content to provide a capable and characterful accompaniment for the singers. The three soloists are more than adequate, if less than exceptional, and the Salzburger Bachchor's performance is more than amateur, if less than professional. Still, it is impossible to dismiss this recording. Despite its limitations, there is a sense of joy in the performance because in every aria or chorus, there is a feeling of blessedness from the performers. They are not the best in the world, but they are giving their best to the music, and, as always, the music gives its best to them. Oehms' sound is full and round, but a bit too recessed.