Karajan's interpretations of the great masterpieces have divided opinion sharply but there can be no doubt whatever that this is one of his great recordings, a supreme reading of Haydn's supreme masterpiece. With a plethora of soloists - all superb - this fully brings out the genius of the great work. Wunderlich tragically died while the recording was still in progress but he managed to record the major tenor pieces and this recording is worth buying for his contribution alone. But then as Janowitz is simply amazing, floating the great melodies, the same could be said about her. This is certainly the best ever Creation, although if you want it in English you must look elsewhere, probably to McCreesh. But in German this Creation is unbeatable.
I'm not at all keen on religious music, but this recording of Haydn's "Creation" is wonderful! It's quite cheerful; anyone who likes Mozart (everyone?) should also like this. I don't know German but this doesn't make any difference here. There is a full libretto (in English, German, French and Italian) - but the overall sound produced is so good that one doesn't have to understand the words to enjoy the listening experience. HvK made a point of recording operas and other works in the original language, as the words and music were designed to fit together, producing a harmonious sound.
It was recorded from 2/1966 to 4/1969; this was due to the busy schedules of the artists concerned, and also to the untimely accidental death of Fritz Wunderlich (voted 4th greatest tenor of all time in the BBC Music Magazine of April 2008). Fortunately he had already recorded almost all his arias by then and mainly left the recitatives for his replacement Werner Krenn. Gundula Janowitz and Christina Ludwig have the most beautiful, clear voices, Walter Berry a great bass singer and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau one of the greatest Baritones ever; a dream of a cast which I'm sure would be difficult to equal today (and I'm also certain that it couldn't be bettered).
It was Karajan who managed to bring all these great singers together. He had many talents, and one was his ability to attract the very best singers of the day. They were practically queuing up to sing for him, as he gave them what they needed as regards to the orchestral accompaniment. He had a sixth sense which told him when singers were in difficulty, e.g. if they were running out of breath, he would adjust the orchestra accordingly. Also, he ensured the orchestra never swamped the singers - every note (singers and orchestra) is as clear as a bell.
A truly great recording - Amazing when you think that the venue (Berlin's Jesus Christus Kirche) was directly under the flight path of Berlin's main Airport - the constant interruptions must have tried everyone's patience to extreme!
Refurbished by DG in 1997 and reissued under "The Originals; Legendary Recordings" so the recording quality is also excellent.
This recording of Haydn's 'Die Schopfung' has not been bettered, even though it was recorded in the mid-sixties. The singing of Gundula Janowitz as Gabriel and Eva is truly heavenly. This is worth buying just for her-what a voice!
This masterly work is probably Haydn's greatest masterpiece, and one hearing is enough to explain why the great Beethoven esteemed it so highly that it led him to say he would 'kneel before Haydn's grave'. Sharply focused conducting by the incomparable Karajan and an unforgettable line-up of soloits conspire to make this probably my favourite CD. The recording is excellent and the woodwind sound is glorious. The most wonderful thing about this CD, though, is Gundula Janowitz's heavenly singing - in track 5 on the first CD, for example, she simply blows the listener away - yet without ever singing 'louder than lovely'. An absolute must-buy!
As ever the Penguin guide proved itself invaluable as a means of eliminating the indifferent (or good) from the superlative.
This work by Haydn is magnificently presented by a conductor I have had many problems with in the past (and whom I still believe as considerably overrated). Here he uses the considerable forces at his disposal (all soloists being at the peak of their powers) in what to me is a near definitive production of this numinous work.