Haydn The Creation
Widely seen as Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation is available in numerous recordings, some with modern instruments, others adhering to the tenets of the historically informed movement. This new version joins the growing body in the latter camp. Boston Baroque is America’s oldest period-instrument orchestra, and lives up to its high reputation in this clean account, nicely scaled and finely balanced under the direction of Martin Pearlman.
The choral singing is light on its feet, with the entire group moving expertly and attentively around Haydn’s notes. The famous sudden fortissimo on the word ‘Licht’ (light) at ‘and there was light’ sounds, for once, entirely unpremeditated; the effect is stunning.
There’s skilful work throughout from the three vocal soloists. With her bright, light-filled tone, Amanda Forsythe gives an accurate, charming reading of the soprano part. Tenor Keith Jameson is not so ideally steady but he’s sensitive to the expressive needs of both text and notes. Kevin Deas’s solid bass-baritone comes over consistently well apart from the odd mismanaged run in Part 3; he’s also eloquent with the text, using a wide variety of dynamics and tonal colouring to point up its meaning.
The orchestral playing is of a similar quality, even if the opening Representation of Chaos shows up a few problems in tuning. Pearlman displays a keen sense of the music’s shape and encompasses its range of character without over-emphasis. The overall sound picture is perfectly arranged for definition as well as grandeur.