Berkshire Choral International

Haydn

Concert: June 20 at St. Patrick’s Chapel, St. Patrick’s College
Conductor: Julian Wachner
Symphony: Maynooth Symphonia

Haydn: The Creation

 

The Creation is considered Joseph Haydn's greatest work.

During Haydn's second visit to England in 1795, concert manager Johann Peter Salomon offered him a "new" poem called "The Creation of the World."

The poem must have been written at least 50 years before as it had been offered to George Frideric Handel, who declined to use it; ironically, it was through this poem that Salmon and Haydn himself hoped to rival Handel's Messiah by writing just as enduring a piece of music. The poem's author was never to be credited and remains unknown to this day.

The poem as given to Haydn was written in English, a language with which he was not comfortable. Upon returning to Vienna, he turned it over to patron/diplomat/amateur musician Gottfried van Swieten to translate into German. The libretto was based on the Book of Genesis and John Milton's "Paradise Lost." Haydn took almost two years to complete his composition, which was considered very slow for an otherwise prolific composer.

From the first discordant notes imaging the great void to the closing Laudamus, one is wrapped in the mysterious and the divine. The first two parts of the three-part oratorio achieve an organic unity with their subject: the creation of the elements and the creation of animal and human life. Part 3 combines the delight of Creation in being brought into existence with reverent and magisterial songs of praise to the Creator.