Haydn’s “The Creation”

Today’s post was originally intended to complete our coverage of the Milwaukie Beethoven Society’s first performance, on March 23, 1843. But I got caught up unscrambling a mixup I made on my post about the first part of that concert, and got behind in new research and writing, so that post is not yet ready. I expect to finish my look at the Beethoven Society concert this coming Wednesday. Sorry for the delay.

Until then, how about listening to some wonderful, joyous music, to drive away the gloom and darkness of Winter, 2020?

“the beautiful oratorio of the Creation

The second and third pieces on the second part of the 1843 Beethoven Society program were—in the words of the advertisement—”from the beautiful Oratorio of the Creation” by Haydn, one of the last and best works of the great Austrian composer. Haydn was probably inspired to write the work after hearing performances of Handel’s oratorios in England. The Creation was written in 1797-98 and first performed in Vienna, in March, 1799. It was published in 1800, with words in both English and German, and quickly achieved repeat performances in Vienna, England, Europe, and the United States. It crowned Haydn’s reputation as the greatest composer of his time. If you’d like to know more about the work and its history, here’s a good place to start.

Die Schöpfung — in German

Here’s a wonderful performance of the work in German, with English subtitles (click the CC button to turn subtitles on and off). It was filmed in the music room—now called the Haydn Hall—of the Esterházy Palace Eisenstadt, Austria, in 2009, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the death of Joseph Haydn. This is the room where Haydn gave regular winter concerts for his employer, Prince Esterhazy. (In the warmer months, the Esterhazy court—including the princely orchestra, opera company, and Kappelmeister Haydn—moved to their grand country estate, Esterháza.)

Click image or this YouTube link to open video in new window. Photo: screenshot of performance.

The Creation — in English

The Milwaukie Beethoven Society sang their solos, duets, trios, quartets, and choruses in English, including the excerpts from The Creation. Haydn’s oratorio is still a favorite with English-speaking choral societies. Here’s an excellent performance in English (although the added visuals may be a bit distracting—or not—depending on your taste.).

Click image or this YouTube link to open video in new window. Photo: screenshot of performance.

I hope you enjoyed Haydn’s Creation. See you soon (Wednesday?) with another music post (or two), and then on to more Clark House research in 2021!