Friday, February 13, 2009

APOCRYPHA WATCH: Haydn's Return of Tobias is reviewed in the Financial Times. Excerpt:
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment has set the pace with Il ritorno di Tobia , the least known of Haydn's large-scale works. This early oratorio, based on an obscure story of healing from the Apocrypha, has long been eclipsed by The Creation and The Seasons . It lacks their iridescent tone-painting, offers no psychological insights. Its decorative arias sound like early Mozart, not the work of a practised court composer - indeed it was written not for his Esterháza patron but a Viennese charity.

Shut the turgid libretto, close your eyes, and what we heard on Tuesday was a succession of pulsing arias, elegant love songs and majestic choruses, underpinned by verdant woodwind choirs and fizzed up strings. ...
The story is found in the book of Tobit.