Music of the Baroque | The Creation

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The Creation

by Music of the Baroque

Live performances of Baroque period classical music performed by Chicago's Music of the Baroque--chamber orchestra, chorus or brass ensemble.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Die Vorstellung des Chaos
6:09 album only
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2. Recitative and Chorus
2:29 album only
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3. Aria and Chorus
3:54 album only
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4. Recitative
2:01 album only
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5. Solo with Chorus
2:12 album only
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6. Recitative
0:42 album only
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7. Aria
4:02 album only
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8. Recitative
0:35 album only
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9. Aria
5:33 album only
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10. Recitative
0:09 album only
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11. Chorus
1:57 album only
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12. Recitative
0:32 album only
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13. Recitative
2:39 album only
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14. Trio and Chorus
3:57 album only
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15. Recitative
0:28 album only
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16. Aria
7:46 album only
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17. Recitative
2:09 album only
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18. Recitative
0:18 album only
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19. Trio and Chorus
6:20 album only
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20. Recitative
0:25 album only
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21. Recitative
3:07 album only
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22. Aria
3:06 album only
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23. Recitative
0:30 album only
clip
24. Aria
3:30 album only
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25. Recitative
0:20 album only
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26. Trio and Chorus
8:22 album only
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27. Recitative
4:12 album only
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28. Duet with Chorus
9:20 album only
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29. Recitative
2:45 album only
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30. Duet
8:04 album only
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31. Recitative
0:25 album only
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32. Chorus
3:23 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The Creation (Die Schöpfung)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)

Joseph Haydn’s first journey to London in 1791 was a personal and professional success that also provided the artistic inspiration for one of the most popular oratorios of all time. As a patron of the Handel Festival in Westminster Abbey that May, Haydn heard Israel in Egypt and Messiah as well as excerpts from Esther, Saul, Judas Maccabaeus and Deborah. Haydn had certainly heard Handel’s music in Vienna, but there was something special about the London performances. As Haydn himself put it, the majesty of Handel’s works kindled the desire to “write a work that will give permanent fame to my name in the world.”

Even in its earliest stages, the piece had a profound effect on the composer. “I was never so devout as when I was at work on The Creation,” Haydn later recalled. “I fell on my knees each day and begged God to give me the strength to accomplish the work successfully.” Under the direction of its composer, Die Schöpfung made its début on April 30, 1798 at the Schwarzenberg Palais. The premiere was thrilling; as Haydn later recounted, “One moment I was as cold as ice, the next I seemed on fire; more than once I was afraid I should have a stroke.” Clearly, the impact on audience members and critics alike was equally powerful. The work received several subsequent performances in the same year, and soon became the second most frequently performed oratorio, after Handel’s Messiah.

Die Schöpfung is organized into three sections—atypical for the German oratorio, but in keeping with Handelian tradition. The creation itself takes place in Parts I and II, which introduce each day with a recitative based on biblical text, highlight especially picturesque moments with arias or arioso settings of Milton’s poetry, and punctuate the day’s end with a jubilant chorus. Lyrical and descriptive verse takes over in Part III, which turns the attention to Adam and Eve as they contemplate their miraculous existence and the wonders of the Garden of Eden.

Opportunities for musical depiction abound throughout the libretto, and Haydn capitalizes on the richness of these moments in grand style. In the opening “Representation of Chaos,” Haydn vividly paints a picture of a world “ohne Form und leer” (without form and void) with ambiguous harmonies and pungent chromaticism. The unsettling atmosphere prevails throughout the opening recitative illustrating the spirit of God moving over primal waters with ghostly chorus and eerie orchestral accompaniment. Darkness is abruptly and unequivocally dismissed in thrilling style with the bold eruption of C Major at the words “Es werde Licht” (Let there be light). This remarkable moment apparently overwhelmed all who first heard the work; as one of Haydn’s friends later wrote, “…at that moment when light broke out for the first time, one would have said that rays darted out from the composer’s burning eyes. The enchantment of the electrified Viennese was so general that the orchestra could not proceed for some minutes.”

Throughout Die Schöpfung, Haydn uses music to unite the grandeur of one of history’s great stories with wonderfully evocative, tangible details of the natural world. In Part I, the orchestra brings winds, clouds, fire, rain, hail and snow to life in the archangel Raphael’s recitative, “Und Gott machte das Firmament” (And God made the firmament). Subsequent sections paint vivid portraits of other natural phenomena: the boisterous sea and limpid brooks, rugged rocks and majestic mountains, open plains and silent vales through which serpentine rivers wind, verdant fields, and the splendid sun, silver moon and azure sky. Part I concludes with the chorus and trio “Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes” (The heavens are telling the glory of God), which celebrates the earth’s creation in a blaze of operatic glory.

The fifth and sixth days are the subject of Part II, in which the creation of living creatures provides Haydn with even greater opportunity for inventive and humorous word painting. In Gabriel’s opening aria “Auf starkem Fittige” (On mighty pens), for example, soloist and orchestra bring an entire aviary to life—the soaring and swooping eagle, merry lark, cooing dove, and the nightingale’s delightful notes, unaffected by grief or “mournful tales.” The tawny lion, agile tiger and nimble stag inhabit Raphael’s recitative “Gleich öffnet sich der Erde Schoß” (Straight opening her fertile womb), which closes with the particularly unforgettable musical image, “In langen Zügen kriecht/am Boden das Gewürm” (In long dimension creeps/with sinuous trace the worm). After the advent of man and woman, described by the archangel Uriel, Part II concludes with two jubilant choruses surrounding a lyrical trio for the archangels.

The third and final part of the oratorio focuses on the day of rest, as Adam and Eve take center stage. In solos, duets and choruses, they revel in the paradise before them and in their love for each other. Their final love duet, “Holde Gattin!” (Graceful consort!) is particularly striking. After a slow and graceful opening in triple meter, the pair make a sudden shift in tone at the words “Der thauende Morgen,/o wie ermuntert er!” (The dew-dropping morn,/O how she quickens all!), where the faster tempo, duple meter and rustic horns signal an écossaise, a dance popular in Vienna at the turn of the nineteenth century. The momentary intrusion of a musical element so patently secular, particularly in contrast with the previous duet and chorus “Von deiner Güt’, o Herr und Gott” (By thee with bliss, o bounteous Lord), might even be interpreted as a fleeting reference to the pair’s imminent fall from grace. With its triumphant choral close, however, Die Schöpfung steadfastly resists any hint of darkness, putting the final touches on an orderly, optimistic and truly Enlightenment portrait of the world.

Jane Glover
Jane Glover has conducted all the major symphony and chamber orchestras in her native Britain, as well as orchestras in Europe, the United States, the Far East and Australia. Artistic director of the London Mozart Players from 1984 to 1991, she has been Music Director of Music of the Baroque since 2002.

In demand on the international opera stage, Jane Glover has appeared with numerous companies including English National Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Berlin Staatsoper, Glimmerglass Opera, Royal Danish Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Australia, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater St. Louis and Teatro La Fenice. She made her professional début at the Wexford Festival in 1975, conducting her own edition of Cavalli’s L’Eritrea.

Jane Glover’s many recordings feature a series of Mozart and Haydn symphonies with the London Mozart Players for ASV, plus other recordings of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, Britten and Walton with the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic and the BBC Singers. Her most recent book, Mozart’s Women, is published in the U.S. by HarperCollins.

Susan Gritton
Winner of the 1994 Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize, soprano Susan Gritton has appeared in major roles at leading companies including the Bayrische Staatsoper, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera, Teatro La Fenice and Rome Opera. Concert highlights include appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Among the conductors with whom she has worked are Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink, Sir Charles Mackerras and Richard Hickox. Her extensive discography includes Handel’s Saul, Solomon, Messiah, and Theodora and Gluck’s Paride ed Elena for Deutsche Grammophon; Hero for LSO Live; Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring for Collins Classics; Nannetta in Falstaff for Chandos; Brahms’ Requiem for EMI and songs by Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn for Hyperion.

John Tessier
Canadian lyric tenor John Tessier has appeared in major roles at New York City Opera, Edmonton Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal, Vancouver Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Minnesota Opera, among other companies. Active as well on the concert stage, he has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. He has also sung with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Among the conductors with whom he has collaborated are Robert Spano, Nicholas McGegan, Donald Runnicles, Lorin Maazel, Bernard Labadie, John Nelson and Franz Welser-Möst.

Kyle Ketelsen
Bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen has appeared with Royal Opera Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Pacific, Glimmerglass Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, New York City Bass-baritone Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Canadian Opera Company and other leading companies. On the concert stage he has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Orchestre National de France under Sir Colin Davis, in a European tour with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, and with the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst. He has also sung with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, Pacific Symphony and Oratorio Society of New York. He is the winner of several international vocal competitions and awards, including a Richard Tucker Career Grant in 2003.

Music of the Baroque
Founded in 1972 and long recognized as one of Chicago’s top classical groups, Music of the Baroque is one of the few groups of its stature in the country specializing in early music. The ensemble has presented premiere and revival performances of numerous early masterpieces—drawing particular praise for its interpretations of the major choral works of J. S. Bach and Handel. The Music of the Baroque chorus and orchestra are comprised of some 60 professional musicians, many of whom also perform with other leading ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago. The group performs at metropolitan-area churches chosen for architectural interest and intimate acoustics and in downtown Chicago at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

This recording was taken from live performances at the Harris Theater in September 2004. For more information about Music of the Baroque or to purchase additional Music of the Baroque recordings, visit www.baroque.org.

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