Seasons intro

Severance Hall
January 18 – Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
January 20 – Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

Introducing the Concert


Life, Death & Renewal

Haydn’s “The Seasons” is a work of great simplicity and startling depth. Its arching storyline across the year of a village — and the story’s underlying relation to the recurring cycles of nature, of birth, life, and death — bring forth universal perspectives within everyday matters.

Approaching the age of 70, Haydn wrote The Seasons between 1799 and 1801, filled with the wisdom and experience of his own life. As his own winter and death neared, he remained optimistic and understanding of life’s joys and reasons, of natures renewal and rebirth. “In this work, Haydn created a wonderful picture of life in the fullest sense,” says Franz Welser-Möst. “In each movement there is a musical depiction of an animal or insect or situation. Here he creates a portrait of life, as small details build up one after another to tell the story of being alive in this world. He shows us just how rich life can be.”

Three soloists act as our journey’s guides: a father and daughter, plus a young farmer, who each at times don other roles. Their interactions with the chorus (taking up various guises as villagers, farmers, hunters, etc.) amidst the evolving heather and heath, weather and whimsy created by the orchestra, provide us an extraordinary evening of plentiful abundance. And a thankfullness for life — for life’s ever-turning cycles, and life’s seasons of work and repast, creation and joy. —Eric Sellen

 The originally-announced baritone soloist for these per­formances, Thomas Hampson, was advised by his doctor to cancel his appearances due to illness. We are grateful to Christian Van Horn for stepping in to sing on short notice.