CHORAL 6 – Haydn and the Oratorio

Haydn visited London twice in the 1790s; whilst there he heard, and was most impressed by, the English oratorios of Handel, particularly Messiah. It was during his second visit that he was handed an anonymous English libretto based, in part, on Milton’s Paradise Lost, which purportedly had been intended for Handel to set; its subject was the creation of the world according to the Book of Genesis. So, on his return to Vienna, fired by his new enthusiasm, the 63 year old abandoned his lifetime’s preoccupation with the symphony (he’d got to number 104!) and turned his attention to writing oratorios. The result was two major choral works, The Creation [Die Schöpfung] (1798), based on a German translation of that London libretto, and The Seasons [Die Jahreszeiten] (1801) setting a rather dubious version of a poem of the same name by the James Thompson. Given the composer’s enormous popularity in Britain at this time, he wisely produced the works in both German and English language versions.

Joseph Haydn The Creation (Die Schöpfung) Oratorio 1796/1798 English version
Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Christopher Hogwood
Emma Kirby soprano
Anthony Rolfe Johnson tenor
Michael George bass-baritone

1. Overture – The Representation of Chaos 0:19

Part 1
Day 1

2.Let there be Light 6:44
3.Now vanish before the holy beams 8:01
Day 2
4.The marv’lous work beholds amazed 13:41
Day 3
5.Rolling in foaming billows 16:17
6.With verdure clad the fields appear 20:36
7.Awake the harp [Chor] 25:43
Day 4
8.In splendour bright is rising now the sun 28:22
9.The heavens are telling the Glory of God [Chor] 31:01

Part 2
Day 5

10.On mighty pens uplifted soars the eagle aloft 36:13
11.And God created great whales 42:25
12.Most beautiful appear [Chor] 44:50
Day 6
13.Straight opening her fertile womb 53:00
14.Now heaven in fullest glory shone 55:11
15.In native worth and honour clad 59:02
16.Achieved is the glorious work [Chor] 1:03:05

Part 3
Adam & Eve

17.In rosy mantle appears 1:11:32
18.By Thee with bliss, a bounteous Lord [Chor] 1:15:28
19.Graceful consort! At thy side 1:27:25
20.Sing the Lord ye voices all! [Chor] 1:35:46


The Vocal score,

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