Haydn - Video Clips from "The Creation"

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was 63 years old - and living in Vienna - when he started to compose his oratorio, "The Creation" (known as "Die Schöpfung" in German).  Still a much-loved, oft-performed work, "The Creation" took two years (1796-1798) to complete.

Once, when chided that he was spending too much time writing the music, Haydn replied:

I spend much time over it, because I intend it to last a long time.  (The Life of Haydn: In a Series of Letters Written at Vienna, translated from the French of L.A.C. Bombet - 1817 - page 235.)

"The Creation" was first performed in Vienna, during the spring of 1798, at the Schwartzenberg Palace.  L.A.C. Bombet, who was present at the premiere, describes the audience's reaction:

Who can describe the applause, the delight, the enthusiasm of this society.  I was present; and I can assure you, I never witnessed such a scene.  The flower of the literary and musical society of Vienna were assembled in the room, which was well adapted to the purpose, and Haydn himself directed the orchestra.  The most profound silence, the most scrupulous attention, a sentiment, I might almost say, of religious respect, were the dispositions which prevailed when the first stroke of the bow was given.  (Letters Written at Vienna, L.A.C. Bombet, page 236.)

A contemporary commentator worried that Haydn's music (and that of Mozart and other composers) would "soon...be laid aside:  other musicians will be in fashion, and we shall fall altogether into the darkness of mediocrity."  (Letters, Bombet, page 2.)  Others disagreed:

We by no means coincide in this opinion...on the contrary, we consider the modern music to be formed upon principles, which will ever preserve it from the oblivion which he apprehends.  It is the fate of the arts to have their ages of mediocrity.  Men of inferior talent may dazzle for a time, but they disappear, and exhibit true genius in greater splendour ... as his music is founded upon the instinctive tones of our nature...we have no fear that it will ever be lost, while human feelings remain.  (Letters, Bombet, footnote on pages 2 and 3.)

In this video clip, we see a few segments from "The Creation" - as performed (in rehearsal) by the period ensemble Les Arts Florissants - directed by American-born, French-based William Christie.

In the first part, three soloists depict three angels.  They are:  Genia Kuhmeier (soprano), Toby Spence (tenor) and Dietrich Henschel (bass-baritone).  

In the second part, two soloists depict Adam and Eve.  They are:  Markus Werba (baritone) and Sophie Karthauser (soprano).

The performance is from 2007.


Media Credits

Segments of "The Creation," by Haydn, performed (in rehearsal) by Les Arts Florissants (with guest soloists), under the direction of William Christie.  Clip online, courtesy EMI France channel at YouTube.

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"Haydn - Video Clips from "The Creation"" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Oct 19, 2019.
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