On 25 June 2010, conductor John Nelson leads the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic and the Netherlands Radio Choir of this beloved Haydn oratorio from Grote Kerk, Naarden, one of the oldest and most famous churches in the Netherlands. This historic church dates back to the fifteen century and features a unique oak-barrel vault ceiling painted with scenes from the Old and New Testament.
Haydn undertook the composition of The Creation starting at the age of 65, and it took him a year and a half to complete the work, from October 1796 to April 1798. A deeply religious man, he later said, "Never had I been so devout as when I was composing The Creation. Everyday I fell to my knees and prayed to God to give me strength for my work."
The Creation depicts the formation of our planet, its life forms, and its human inhabitants, as portrayed in the Book of Genesis, The Psalms, and John Milton's Paradise Lost. Ultimately, the oratorio also brings to life Haydn's intense faith and gratitude to God. From the opening orchestral portrait of the beginning chaos, through to the crowning "Achieved is the glorious work," the passion of Haydn's music, and his exuberant joy in creation itself, resounds in the ears of all listeners. It's no wonder that, after Handel's Messiah, The Creation is the most popular and most performed oratorio ever written.
I cannot imagine a better group of soloists, a more appropriate orchestra, and a finer chorus than those we've assembled for Haydn's masterpiece The Creation (Die Schöpfung) in the Netherlands in June. The Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic is one of the finest chamber orchestras in Europe, the Netherlands Radio Choir is the largest professional choir in the Netherlands, and the soloists are a dream cast. Haydn's exuberant and highly descriptive oratorio is one of my favorites in the entire repertoire.
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