Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Haydn: Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons)

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) The Seasons

Both of Haydn's late oratorios are settings of texts based on English epic poetry: The Creation on John Milton's Paradise Lost and The Seasons on James Thomson’s epic poem of the same name, written in 1730.  It is a depiction of pre-industrial rural life that touches on love, friendship, hardship, success as well as harvest celebrations.  Using a German translation of sections of Thomson’s poem, Haydn began work on it in 1798, shortly after the well-received first performance of The Creation, and completed it in 1801.  Like The Creation, it calls for soprano, tenor, and bass soloists, chorus and a large orchestra including four horns and three trombones.