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.