Similar artists

Albums

Cantatas (sacred) - Released November 16, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions 3F de Télérama

Symphonies - Released February 21, 2014 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica

Oratorios (secular) - Released April 13, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

As a conductor, Nikolaus Harnoncourt is either a rugged individualist or he's merely eccentric, and the evidence leans more toward the latter than the former. Take this 2009 release of Haydn's The Seasons. Though the soloists are lesser known, they are all excellent: powerful, expressive, and sweetly in tune. Though the orchestra is the period instrument Concentus Musicis Wien, it, too, is excellent: tight, together, and colorful. And no excuses or equivocations need be made for the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, one of the most agile, agreeable, and mellifluous of present-day Austrian choirs that contributes a brilliant performance here. But what can explain Harnoncourt's interpretation? The slow parts are either to too slow or too fast. The fast parts are either too fast or too slow. The rhythms are usually too choppy, but sometimes they're too smooth. The balances are odd: sometimes the chorus dominates the orchestra, other times the orchestra dominates the chorus. And the piece seems strangely lacking in coherence. The flow from movement to movement is minimal and the flow from season to season feels forced. Indeed, the only thread that runs through the whole performance is what seems to be a willful desire to do things differently than they are traditionally done. For some listeners, the resulting performance may be highly enlightening; for others, it may be simply weird. But one thing's certain: few fans of the work will be indifferent to Harnoncourt's interpretation. Deutsch Harmonia Mundi's sound is too close and too loud.

Symphonic Music - Released September 7, 2004 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Classical - Released January 13, 2015 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet

Classical - Released January 12, 2015 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet

Classical - Released June 20, 2014 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet

Classical - Released June 20, 2014 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet

Classical - Released June 20, 2014 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet

Classical - Released October 3, 2011 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Classical - Released November 27, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet

Oratorios (secular) - Released March 13, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Classical - Released March 13, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet
This album of highlights from George Frederick Handel's Messiah presents the best-known instrumentals, arias, and choruses from this hallowed work on 19 tracks, performed in Baroque period style by the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and Concentus Musicus Wien, led by the redoubtable Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Crisp rhythms, distinctive tone colors, and lean textures are in evidence throughout, and the luster of original instruments makes these selections feel light and transparent, as opposed to the thicker textures and flatter sonorities of older, traditional (i.e., post-Romantic) readings. Harnoncourt, of course, was from the outset one of the leaders of the movement for authentic period practices and key in sweeping the cobwebs off the great masterpieces of early music; this 2004 recording of Messiah is quite far removed from the stodgy, overly reverent readings that persisted well into the late twentieth century, but are becoming scarce in the early twenty first. Where one may question this performance is chiefly in the solo singing, which is at times almost too expressive and stylized, bordering on preciosity: tenor Michael Schade is so intent on shading each syllable, the musical line seems secondary, and the singing of soprano Christine Schäfer, alto Anna Larsson, and bass Gerald Finley seems similarly affected, though to a lesser degree. The choruses are much less rarefied and easier to follow, though sometimes Harnoncourt takes tempos too slowly, troublingly in "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion," "For Unto Us a Child Is Born," but almost fatally in "Hallelujah," so listeners who like their Messiah at a brisk clip may find these interpretations sluggish. Before purchasing the full recording, listeners would be wise to sample this disc first to see if the interpretation satisfies their needs and if the performance suits their tastes.

Classical - Released March 13, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet

Classical - Released March 2, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Artist

Nikolaus Harnoncourt in the magazine