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The Creation

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Premiered in 1799, the oratorio Die Schoepfung (The Creation) was a smashing success for Joseph Haydn. It was an authentic hit that received performances all over Europe in the first decade of the new century, including nearly 50 in its premiere city of Vienna. The Creation was, incidentally, the first ever example of a score to be published simultaneously in two languages: Haydn set texts collected and adapted by Baron Gottfried van Swieten--bits of Genesis and Psalms, along with snippets of Milton's Paradise Lost--in both English and German. The composer combines a variety of musical styles (and musical tricks) to make the words live vividly in the listener's ear, and not a note is wasted. The score contains secco recitative, mighty choruses, and beguiling arias. One of the most delightful sections is the chorus (with soloists): "The heavens are telling the glory of God" ("Die Himmel erzaehlen die Ehre Gottes") that ends the first part. The Creation is a work with great religious and entertainment value. Haydn has achieved some wonderful effects--listen to his picture of Chaos, and to his version of "Let there be light!" You can examine for yourself the means by which he accomplished it with this full orchestral score from Dover. It is, like all Dover scores, a reissued copy of a score from another publisher that has fallen out of copyright. Don't look here for the latest in Haydn scholarship, but do look here for a reasonably priced tool for exploring and understanding a wonderful score.

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