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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Haydn: Die Schöpfung

12/30/2012 1:00 pm
12/30/2012 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera Host Keith Brown writes:

The year has rolled around to its conclusion: now's a good time to reflect upon all that has transpired in 2012 by listening to something that takes in the whole world in a single monumental musical composition.

Josef Haydn's Die Schöpfung ("The Creation, "1798) ranks with Handel's Messiah as a classic of the oratorio genre. The creation story told through Haydn's music is certainly Biblical, derived ultimately from the Old Testament Genesis narrative by way of Milton's English language epic poem Paradise Lost, translated into German and reworked into libretto form by Austria's cultural mentor of the age, Baron Van Swieten.

There seems to be a surplus of good recordings of The Creation available. I have presented several of them over the course of several decades. This time around, the venerable Sir Colin Davis directs the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with three topnotch vocal soloists, one of whom is the English tenor of particular excellence: Ian Bostridge. The recording was made at the symphony's home venue, the Barbican, in London in 2007, live in performance.

Haydn crafted the score of his oratorio so that it would work perfectly well with an English language libretto; however, Sir Colin opted for Van Swieten's German text. Die Schöpfung was released to the public in 2009 on two compact discs through the orchestra's own label LSO Live.