We’ve been looking at selections from Haydn’s oratorio The Creation over the past few weeks . Last week we saw the overture, “Chaos,” a musical representation of the state of disorder that prevailed before God created the universe. The selection before that was “The Heavens are Telling,” based on Psalm 19. This piece comes at the end of the first part of the oratorio, after God has created the firmament and the land. It celebrates the wonderful way in which creation reflects its Creator.
Today we are listening to the conclusion of Haydn’s masterpiece . . . but not the end of the story. At this point God has created the parents of the human race, Adam and Eve, who are happily busying themselves about the Garden of Eden. In “Sing the Lord, ye voices all!” the chorus booms out a joyful song of thanks:
Sing the Lord, ye voices all! Utter thanks ye all his works! Celebrate his pow’r and glory! Let his name resound on high! The Lord is great, his praise shall last for aye. Amen! Amen!
The drama ends before the Fall. We, of course, know what lies ahead for Adam and Eve, even if they don’t. As we listen to the rousing finale, we can’t help but reflect on the words spoken moments before by the angel Uriel. “O happy pair, and always happy yet,” he says to the first man and woman, “if not, misled by false conceit, ye strive at more, as granted is, and more to know, as know ye should!” The true drama is about to begin.
The clip below features the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir performing “Singt dem Herren alle Stimmen” (“Sing the Lord, ye voices all!”) from Haydn’s The Creation.
The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir performed the Creation by Joseph Haydn in the University Aula, Oslo, on April 3rd 2012.
Conductor: Grete Pedersen
Soloists: Marita Kvarving Sølberg (soprano), Astrid Sandvand Dahlen (alto), Magnus Staveland (tenor) Johannes Weisser (bass)