Saturday, 18 October 2008

179. Joseph Haydn - The Creation (1798)


















Recording

Title: Die Schopfung
Performers: Balthasar-Neumann-Chor, Balthasar-Neuman-Ensemble
Director: Thomas Hengelbrock
Year: 2002
Length: 1 hours and 40 minutes

Review

Many claim this to be Haydn's masterpiece, and I agree to some extent, in the sense that it is a complete work in the dramatic and musical sense, and completely integrated in those two parts. The part where God creates light is truly impressive, as is the opening Chaos. Still, the work is too dependent on the text to make sense.

The fact that it is too dependent on the text makes it much less appealing just to listen to. It needs understanding, if you understand what is being said, or can follow a libretto, your enjoyment will be considerably superior. The whole thing is full of musical representations of what is being said that make a lot more sense if you understand what is happening.

This, as an oratorio, is midway between the mass and the opera and the drama works pretty well, but it is definitely a work that you should give your time to. If you don't get where you are at it will sound verbose in its recitatives only really shining in the Choirs and Arias. Ideally you should learn German and then listen to it. As a way to recount the story it would be ideal for children... if you actually wanted to teach them Creationism... which you don't.


Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The pleasure of experiencing Haydn and van Swieten's Die Schöpfung lies less in the inevitable trajectory of the plot—we all know the story, and it contains no real sense of conflict—than in the wide-eyed wonder with which the composer visits its familiar contours. A childlike quality pervades the work, as if Haydn were relating the narrative to young listeners who had never heard it before." -- James Keller

William Christie records the Creation:


3 comments:

je.nexiste.pas said...

Some of us do plan on teaching our children creationism.

je.nexiste.pas said...

Love your reviews, by the way. I'm impressed you can manage to do so many of them. I take far too long to write my own!

Francisco Silva said...

je.nexiste.pas: Thanks for reading my reviews :) No problem with you teching them creationism, good for you (as long as it's not creationism only).