Performing Haydn’s choral masterpiece

Lesley Jordan and Ian Mackenzie on what audiences can expect from Enfield Choral Society’s spring concert

Enfield Choral Society has been performing locally since 1938
Enfield Choral Society has been performing locally since 1938

Joseph Haydn is one of the great composers of the Classical period, when a more dramatic compositional style became common. Throughout this time the Austrian remained a pioneering figure, with most of his life devoted to orchestral and instrumental music. It was after he completed Symphony No. 104, his last, that he composed his supreme choral masterpieces The Creation and The Seasons.

While visiting London, Haydn became an enthusiastic admirer of Handel after attending performances of Messiah and Israel in Egypt at Westminster Abbey. He was determined to produce a work of similar substance and power.

The Creation was premiered at a private event in 1798 in Vienna, to great acclaim. Large-scale performances soon followed in London, Paris, St Petersburg, Stockholm and Budapest. It is in three parts; part one portrays the first four days in which heaven, earth, land, sea, plant life and the celestial bodies are made; part two describes the fifth and sixth days with the appearance of birds, beasts, fish and finally man and woman; the shorter part three introduces us to Adam and Eve as they enjoy the delights of Eden.

The text of The Creation was originally produced in English, then translated into German, but Haydn always kept both languages in the score. It integrates choral and solo parts in music, which is highly inventive, colourful and full of lyrical melody. Memorable passages include the opening ‘representation of chaos’, the awesome depiction of the creation of light which bursts in on the very first chorus, and the superb sunrise of the fourth day.

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The Creation is being performed by Enfield Choral Society at St Paul’s Church in Winchmore Hill on Saturday, 18th March, with professional soloists singing the arias, duets and trios. Choir members are enjoying the challenges of rehearsing its soaring choruses!

Enfield Choral Society is a friendly, strong and growing non-auditioned SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) choir of 60 members, with a mix of ages. We welcome new members, so if you enjoy singing, why not give us a try? Summer concert rehearsals start from Tuesday, 21st March at St Stephen’s Church in Bush Hill Park. If you’re interested, why not introduce yourself to us during the interval of our Haydn concert?

To enquire about joining Enfield Choral Society:
Email [email protected]

To buy tickets (£14 advance) for the 18th March performance of Haydn’s The Creation:
Call 07864 061 755
Email [email protected]

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