THE Viennese audience at the first performance of the Creation in 1799 were so electrified by Haydn’s heart-stopping interpretation of the creation of light as the earth formed that the performance had to be temporarily suspended.
Haydn was inspired to write what many deem to be his masterpiece during his visits to England in 1791–1792 and 1794–1795, when he heard Handel’s oratorios.
It seems likely that Haydn wanted to try to achieve similar results.
The work on the oratorio lasted from October 1796 to April 1798 and was also a profound act of faith for this deeply religious man, who appended the words ‘Praise to God’ at the end of every completed composition.
He later remarked: “I was never so devout as when I was at work on The Creation, I fell on my knees each day and begged God to give me the strength to finish the work.”
He worked on the project to the point of exhaustion, and collapsed into a period of illness after conducting its premiere performance.
Haydn’s original autograph score has been lost since 1803. A Viennese published score dated 1800 forms the basis of most performances today. The most authentic Tonkünstler-Societat score of 1799, with notes in the composer’s hand, can be found at the Vienna State Library.
Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Haydn’s sensational and evocative musical description of the Creation as Chipperfield Choral Society perform at St John’s Church in Boxmoor on Saturday, March 12, 7.45pm.
For tickets call 01923 400520/263939 or go online at www.chipperfieldchoral.co.uk.