Berlin-based Orchestras

Berliner Philharmoniker / Sir Simon Rattle

Past Dates

In no other work has Haydn utilised his musical art of characterisation so generously, concisely and as masterfully as he has in The Seasons; it is a gem of sound colour and sonic differentiation. In no other work has he made use of the possibilities both of artistic form and the modes of musical expression so freely, so conclusively logically, and with such detail – and at the same time perspectival richness – as in his last oratorio. It is a masterpiece that sings of a masterpiece: the world made by God that now takes its course. Through the change and return of the seasons God directly communicates with humanity. Through Him they can admire the extent, as well as the permanent renewal, of creation; into Him they can assimilate, intervening formatively and creatively – through work. Along with his librettist Gottfried van Swieten, Haydn calls this work »diligence« and sometimes also »science« or »art« – all that lets a human being have an effect beyond his time. If this happens in accordance with the nature that surrounds us and »the moral law within us« (Kant) »then shall come the glorious morn«, that is promised by the final choir.

Concert Programme

Joseph Haydn [1732–1809]
The Seasons
Oratorio [1799-1801]
Text based on Thomson von Gottfried van Swieten
Spring – Summer – Autumn – Winter


Christiane Oelze soprano
John Mark Ainsley tenor
Thomas Quasthoff baritone

Rundfunkchor Berlin
Simon Halsey coach

Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle conductor

An event of the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker in cooperation with the musikfest berlin | Berliner Festspiele