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Annotated Bibliography: The Creation

I. Monographs
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English language sources published since 1982.

Brown, A. Peter. Performing Haydn’s ‘The Creation’: Reconstructing the Earliest Renditions. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.

A. Peter Brown wrote this book as he was preparing his own performance edition of The Creation, which was published by Oxford in 1995.  (For information on this edition, see William Weinert's review of performance materials in HAYDN: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America, 3.1 [Spring 2013])  For those interested in historically informed approaches to the piece, or in entertaining different performance options, or even in considering ways to best bring out the drama of the piece to modern audiences, this is an essential resource. 

Chapter 1 "Sources" is a description and comparison of the primary sources up to the first edition, including scores and parts.  Several plates show source pages with variant performance indications and corrections made in Haydn's hand.  One interesting plate shows the first score page of the engraver's score in Elssler's hand (owned by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde), with the marking con sordino next to the horns, trumpets, and timpani at the beginning, but crossed out (12).  Brown connects the muted instruments up to the facta est lux moment to descriptions of the orchestral sound in early performances. Chapter 1 also contains a chart of performances up to 1810, including dates, venues, sponsors, principal performers/leaders, numbers of performers, and bibliographic information (2-7).  Chapter 2 "Forces, Scoring, and Dynamics" refers back to this chart with information about sizes and seating arrangements of various performances up to as late as the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 1837, how the instrumentation was different for various performances, and how, then, dynamics should be considered.  Sizes of groups range from around 40 or so (at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt) to as many as 1,019 (1837 Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde commemoration), with c.180-200 being the usual number.  Some of the larger performances included three Harmonie ensembles, as indicated by extant parts, and parts for trombones and contrabassoon suggest considerable variation in the doubling of the bass line for various occasions.  (Appendix 5 towards the end of the book contains reproductions of original bass trombone and contrabassoon parts found in some of the early sets, particularly where the scores did not have a sufficient number of staves on a page to include these instruments.)  Other details of scoring changes are also included. 

Chapter 3 "Embellishment and Ornamentation" focuses on vocal soloists.  Brown begins by making the case that, unlike Il ritorno di Tobia which was steeped in the Italian tradition, Haydn preferred that very little improvised embellishment be added to the solo vocal parts.  Fortunately some of the primary sources include variant melismatic material for the soloists, and thus one can make deductions regarding the extent to which Haydn encouraged such variant embellishment.  Brown gives careful and interesting examples of these in score form.  Instrumental matters are covered in Chapter 4 "Bowing and Articulation."  Caution is given regarding an absolutist approach to articulations and bowing indications.  Instead, a careful comparison of the early sources evinces some general considerations to follow and options to consider, particularly in bowing.  Brown also sheds light on the often frustrating issue of shorthand timpani indications of trillo (roll) vs. 16th/32nd notes, using plates of original parts to demonstrate his points.  Chapter 5 "Tempo" focuses not on specific metronome indications but on the relationship of metric indications to the tempo, and in particular how an unusual uniformity in metric indications among the sources suggests that Haydn have tempos well set in his mind.  True to the intent of the book, Brown sticks to the earliest sources here and so does not include information regarding the metronome markings given by his pupil Sigismund Neukomm in his 1832 piano-vocal edition of the work.

Brown revisits the relationship of the various early sources in light of the intended audiences (connoisseurs, performers, patrons) in Chapter 6 "Conclusion."   He also suggests that one might come to a better understanding of The Creation by attempting to recreate the proportions of the earliest performances, as well as consider some of the variants in instrumentation, embellishment, etc.  Five very useful appendices close the book:  Appendix 1 is a list of the movements in German and English; Appendix 2 is a chart comparing the important variants of instrumentation, rhythm, ornamentation, and other performance indications among the primary sources; Appendix 3 is a list of the solo/tutti indications found in the Tonkünstler-Societät parts; Appendix 4 gives ossia readings of solo passages in the trio "In holder Anmut stehn/Most Beautiful Appear" from the Tonkünstler-Societät parts, with the caution that they be used only if the soloists find the original too difficult; Appendix 5 contains the original bass trombone and contrabassoon parts found in the Tonkünstler, Estate, and Sonnleithner part sets. 

 

Landon, H.C.R. ed.  The Creation and The Seasons: the Complete Authentic Sources for the Word-Books. Cardiff, 1985.

Not available.

 

MacIntyre, Bruce C. Haydn: The Creation.  New York: Schirmer Books, 1998.

Schirmer Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster Macmillan) published seven monographs in their Monuments of Western Music series between 1995 and 1998, including this book.  Like the larger Cambridge Music Handbook Series, this series sought to bring great music to broad audiences. But titles in this series contain more details regarding cultural background, historical position, and analytic detail.  The clear language and approach in most of the book is quite appealing and informative for general readers, but the depth of MacIntyre's analysis in the middle of the book (Chapters 4-6) makes this part more suitable for Kenner than for general readers.  

Chapter 1 "Vienna, Haydn, and the Oratorio" gives a multi-faceted look at Vienna's cultural and musical climate in the 1790s, when the precepts of the Enlightenment were, according to MacIntyre, butting up against the conservative ideology of an absolute monarchy strongly connected to the Roman Catholic Church.  Musical life was flourishing within this context, but was undergoing a shift from small privately organized salons to larger events supported by associations such as the Tonkünstler-Societät and Gesellschaft der Associierten Cavaliere.  Central to this shift was the ascendency of oratorio genre in Vienna, particularly during Lent, and the championing of Handel's oratorios by Gottfried van Swieten.  A thorough and concise discussion of Il ritorno di Tobia follows this background, and MacIntyre keenly ties together "lessons learned" by Haydn from this earlier oratorio and the profound impact of Handel's oratorios on Haydn, to set up his Chapter 2 "Genesis and Premiere."  In the first part of Chapter 2 MacIntyre gives a brief review of Haydn's many choral works composed between his return from London in 1795 and the completion of The Creation, a thorough discussion of the problems surrounding the origin of the text, and interesting information regarding the principal patrons of the work.  A religious and philosophical backdrop is related to Haydn's "sincere and cheerful piety" (40) and his associations with Freemasonry to the subject of the text, and offers insight into the English influences in Vienna during the second half of the eighteenth century.   MacIntyre quotes a number of primary sources and cites current research regarding van Swieten's preparation of the text and Haydn's compositional process, which at times proved to be difficult, but was approached by both with great care and dedication.  Details regarding the preparation for and carrying out of the first private performance at Prince Schwarzenberg's on 30 April 1798 at 6:30 in the evening, including soloist information and Haydn's honorarium, conclude the chapter, with only a mention of the first public performance which occurred eleven months later.  Subsequent performances are discussed in Chapter 8.    

Chapters 3-6 cover the specifics of The Creation's structure and style.  Chapter 3 "The Libretto and the Musical Design" outlines the libretto in the context of existing oratorio structure and dramatic action, with the conclusion that van Swieten's maximizing of the expressive content, particularly in its musical-descriptive potential, put this text outside of (beyond?) Metastasian models.  Biblical passages (King James Version) are compared to the working text, showing reductions to the original for the sake of efficiency, and elaborations of the original for dramatic and descriptive purposes.  MacIntyre points out the recurrence of "dark patch[es]" throughout the work, where a "threatening shadow [is cast] upon the generally cheerful atmosphere" (68) as one of the features in Haydn's overall musical plan.  Chapters 4-6 give movement-by-movement analyses of each of the three parts of The Creation that are more detailed than the Temperley book of 1991 (see below).  Textual analyses compare biblical and Milton texts to the final libretto, as well as the German to the English of the first publication.  Helpful information about van Swieten's notes regarding text setting, and Haydn's choosing whether or not to follow the suggestions, is provided.  Structural analyses include discussions of harmony and key relationships, musical themes, orchestration, and movement form, and refer to work of other scholars such as Tovey and Levarie.  These are sprinkled with performance considerations based on A. Peter Brown's book Performing Haydn’s ‘The Creation’: Reconstructing the Earliest Renditions (see above).  Concise but thorough musical-rhetorical discussions (tone-paining techniques) usually follow the formal analyses, and again relate van Swieten's suggestions, but also contemporary and early reception accounts, particularly from Silverstolpe and reactions from the 1822 Philadelphia performance. Musical examples are used sparingly, but are effective.  Some of the more enlightening evaluations:  Chapter 4 has a discussion of "The Heavens Are Telling" demonstrating connections across many movements of Part One by means of what MacIntyre labels a recurrent Ur-Melodie (121-24); in Chapter 5 Mozartian and Masonic influences are shown in "Achieved is Thy Glorious Work" (172-82); Chapter 6 has a very thorough and clear textual and structural analysis of "By Thee With Bliss" (188-201).

Chapter 7 "Performance Practice Considerations" is divided into two parts.    "Preliminaries to Performance" deals with problems of text and translations (early and more recent), older and current editions, early performance forces, and stage set.  MacIntyre fairly handles editions and translations, giving perceived strengths and weaknesses of each, and discusses forces using historical evidence and recent recordings and live performances. "Matter of Performance" covers some of the details of ornamentation and cadenzas, recitative treatment, and articulation.  MacIntyre also gives practical advice to conductors, including a suggested rehearsal plan that most efficiently utilizes the musicians' time, information regarding intermissions (one or two), an overview of Haydn's tempo indications, and a comparison of Neukomm's 1832 metronome markings to ranges of tempos in modern recordings. Brown and Temperley are cited by MacIntyre as main sources for this information.  Chapter 8 "The Creation's Place in Music History" picks up where Chapter 2 ended, with information about concerts after the Schwarzenberg Palace premiere, and critical reports both positive and negative.  MacIntyre takes a regional approach, beginning with Viennese concerts (with details regarding soloists and leaders) and performances in other European cities during Haydn's lifetime, and then goes later into the nineteenth century and across the ocean to North America.  MacIntyre highlights the quick dissemination of the piece to cities from St. Petersburg to San Francisco, and throughout Europe.  He then gives a brief overview of how the musical text developed though a number of publications in the 1800s, including arrangements (e.g. Anton Wranitzky's 1801 string quintet reduction), a discussion of the influence of The Creation on later works and composers, as well as its role as a philanthropic tool, and quotes praises from a number of poets and scholars, all supporting the position that The Creation is one of the masterpieces of the Western music tradition.  A correspondence of movement numbers among various editions is given as an appendix (285-86). 

 

Temperley, Nicholas.  Haydn: The Creation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

This was one of four books published June 1991 that initiated the Cambridge Music Handbook Series, which now includes 56 titles.  Consistent with the intent of this series, Temperley discusses different topics related to The Creation in clear language that is appropriate for a wide readership.  Chapter 1 "Background" includes a brief overview of the oratorio genre, Haydn biographical information, and a general discussion of Haydn's four oratorios (including Il ritorno di Tobia and The Seven Last Words), with information on early performances.  In Chapter 2 "Theology," Temperley reviews prevailing religious thought in late eighteenth-century England and Austria, including how rationalism and the Enlightenment influenced social, political, and religious thought and practice.  He uses this as a background for some suggestions about Haydn's own religious ideas, concluding that the religious outlook of The Creation—its rationalism, humanism, naturalism, and optimism—was designed to appeal to the English and Austrian Christian publics, at the end of the Enlightenment.  Chapter 3 "The Libretto" looks at the mystery regarding the authorship and exact content of the original English text given to Haydn, breaks down the structure and use of the various sources of the text, and how their combination, followed by the problems of translation and retranslation, have resulted in some interesting and often difficult literary stylistic quirks.  He credits van Swieten with success in his work to make the libretto an effective vehicle for Haydn.  (Temperley's clarity and even-handedness regarding this confusing topic is admirable.)  Chapter 4 "Composition, performance and reception" gives a brief history of Haydn's conception of and composition of the work, and information about early performances in Vienna, London, Paris, and America, including a short reference to the central position of The Creation in the founding of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society.  The ensuing discussion of critical reception, spanning the earliest performances through twentieth-century writers such as Charles Rosen, focuses on the perceived weaknesses of the work, in particular the criticism of the tone-painting moments, and the idea that any religious work at the end of the Enlightenment was somehow an "uncomfortable" compromise.

Chapters 5 "Design of the work" and 6 "Musical analysis" concisely covey the details of The Creation itself, with some historical context given by means of comparisons to other eighteenth-century pieces in the oratorio and other dramatic genres, and the conventions associated with these genres.  Chapter 5 starts with a look at the overall plan of The Creation, including the relationship of the three parts, the overall dramatic trajectory, and the tonal plan.  Temperley then lays out a handy thirteen-page table, beginning with the list of characters/voice types and the orchestration, followed by the German and English libretto texts side-by-side, each movement identified with information on movement type/form, key, tempo, meter, and length (number of bars).  The analyses given in Chapter 6 are grouped into movement types:  Secco recitatives, Accompanied recitatives, Arias and ensembles, Choruses, Orchestral movements. Haydn's adroit combining of movement types in ways that best convey this drama—what James Webster has labeled compound "run-on" or "through-composed" movements (Webster, "The Creation, Haydn's Late Vocal Music, and the Musical Sublime," in Elaine Sisman, ed., Haydn and His World, 66-8)—makes such categorization difficult, but Temperley handles this neatly.  But the difficulties of treating the Part Three Hymn (No. 30) as one of these standard types was too awkward, necessitating its own, very thorough and thoughtful section to close this chapter. 

Following the two analytic chapters, Temperley returns to the topic of criticism in Chapter 7 "Excerpts from critical essays."  Portions of essays about The Creation from just after its first performances through the last third of the twentieth century convey thoughts about such wide-ranging topics as characterization and general criticism (Carl Friedrich Zelter, 1802; Edward Taylor, 1834; Paul Dukas, 1904; Donald Francis Tovey, 1934; Karl Geiringer, 1963; Charles Rosen, 1972), orchestration (William Gardiner, 1811), theology and religion (George Alexander Macferran, 1854; Hugo Wolf, 1885), and structure (Heinrich Schenker, 1926).  Two appendices conclude the book.  Appendix I "Performance practice" credits A. Peter Brown's book Performing Haydn’s ‘The Creation’: Reconstructing the Earliest Renditions as being a wealth of information about performing The Creation, and then briefly supplements or clarifies aspects regarding performance considerations such as venues, language, performing forces, tempo, ornamentation, dynamics, and articulation.  Appendix II is a short list of extant performance editions, and a correspondence table for the numbering of movements in the editions.

Annotated Bibliography: The Creation

II. Chapters in multi-authored books
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Clark, Caryl.  Revolution, rebirth, and the sublime in Haydn's L'anima del filosofo and The Creation. In Mary Hunter and Richard Will, eds., Engaging Haydn: Culture, Context, and Criticism, 100-123.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

In her abstract, Clark suggests that L'anima del filosofo and The Creation share a narrative trajectory as "an interlocking story about the death of an era and the birth of another, mirroring the French Revolution" (123).  As with the Revolution, the darkness and destruction of the opera leads to the promise of hope and renewal in the oratorio.  Clark points out that in the Haydn-Badini version of the myth, Orpheus's lyre is silent in his journey through the underworld, as he seeks comfort in dispassionate philosophical inquiry rather than the beauty and reason of his music. His only moment of giving in to passion causes that fateful glance back at Euridice.  But in The Creation the harp and lyre are tuned and awakened, and thus salvation is achieved through beauty and reason—a "re-creation" of the Orphean spirit.    Clark continues by showing how the two works are connected stylistically, particularly through the extensive use of chorus (the English tradition), colorful orchestral effects, moments of the "religious sublime," and even in the similarities of their opening instrumental movements.  After making this argument, Clark posits that L'anima del filosofo was refused performance in London as much for its metaphorical connection to the politics of the French Revolution that were playing out in London, as it was from the politics of theatre management. 

 

Kramer, Lawrence. "Music and Representation: the Instance of Haydn’s Creation." In Stephen Paul Scher, ed., Music and Text: Critical Inquiries, 139-62. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.         

"Far from being a slightly embarrassing extra, musical representation is one of the basic techniques by which culture enters music, and music enters culture, as meaning, discourse, and even action" (140).  Kramer lays out the importance of the representational metaphor in music as a dialectical tool that enables interpretation and encourages re-interpretation.  He demonstrates this by systematically relating the structural elements (referencing Schenker and Tovey) of "The Representation of Chaos" movement through the facta est lux moment to the web of Classical/Christian ideas regarding the concepts of musica mundana and harmonia mundi (Pythagoras, Plato, biblical, Boethius, Isidore, Kepler), and to Renaissance visual representations of  "hearing light" often associated with paintings of the Annunciation. Haydn's success at representing cosmic chaos is not simply a matter of generating musical confusion, "but on a lucid and principled process of deformation" (152).  For Kramer, the apex of this deformation occurs in bars 40-54, where an act of recapitulation (a resolving gesture) is infiltrated by a dominant pedal (a destabilizing gesture), leading to a period of harmonic obfuscation.  Thus resolution and destabilization become one and the same, an Alpha and Omega of sorts. This startling aporia allows the facta est lux moment to affect the listener as if feeling the resonance of harmonia mundi, at once associated with a Christian purity of soul (Milton, Shakespeare), and Enlightenment clarity of reason (Addison)—a momentary utopia.

 

Mathew, Nicholas. "'Achieved is the glorious work':  The Creation and the choral work concept." In Mary Hunter and Richard Will, eds., Engaging Haydn: Culture, Context, and Criticism, 124-42.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Mathew argues that in its historical position, reception, subject matter, and rhetoric, The Creation initiated the notions of "work concept" most often credited to Beethoven's symphonies.  From its conception, The Creation was recognized as being part of an artistic lineage including Handel and Milton, at a time when the oratorio genre held a preeminent position among the concert-going public.  Multiple performances of The Creation were almost ensured by the relationship between Haydn and the Tonkünstler-Societät, as well as the emergence of other music organizations for which grand choral works were becoming the central repertoire.  Haydn's growing international fame went hand-in-hand with the perpetuation of these oratorio societies, whose audiences were beginning to listen to music "with just the same devotion as though [they] were in church" (Mathew quoting Wackenroeder, 133), consequently leading to the quick dissemination of The Creation throughout Europe and the New World.  Furthermore, the topic itself, and Haydn's treatment of it, became an apotheosis of the great composer, the international musical hero whose compositions were as much about their conceptualization as their performance.  All of these elements added up to the identification of The Creation as a musical masterpiece.  Mathew goes on to assert that the Beethoven symphonies that came after sought to more or less imitate the rhetorical or dramatic scope of the grand oratorios, and it is at this point that the ascendency of absolute music takes hold.  But it is The Creation that set the stage of the musical masterpiece in the Romantic era.

 

Temperley, Nicholas.  "New Light on the Libretto of The Creation."  In Christopher Hogwood and Richard Luckett, eds., Music in Eighteenth Century England; Essays in memory of Charles Cudworth, 189-211.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Temperley uses the English librettos printed for audiences of the first London performances of The Creation, led by Ashley and Salomon, to verify Edward Olleson's hypothesis that the English libretto of the first publication was not merely a re-translation by van Swieten from German back into English, but was rather a compilation of the original English source presented to Haydn in London, from which van Swieten made the German translation (see Edward Olleson, "The Origin and Libretto of Haydn's Creation," Haydn Yearbook 4 [1968]: 148-66).  A brief review of the relationship of Salomon to the work and the first London performances, a discussion of the few differences between these sources and van Swieten's German and English re-workings, and an investigation of possible London sites holding copies of the original text, contextualizes the London librettos, and strengthens the claim that they were directly related to Haydn's original source, although clearly other materials were used as well. Temperley thoroughly investigates differences in the London printed librettos and the first published edition of the work, beginning with a consideration of van Swieten's 1798 AMZ account that he "followed the plan of the original faithfully and fully," but "diverged from it in details," particularly through abridgement, followed by a discussion of significant textual variants in the London librettos and the first authentic published score of 1800.  A table of all of the variants is included (202-03).  Temperley surmises that there were three phases of revisions before the score was published in 1800:  1) van Swieten made structural changes and small textual changes before making his fair copy of the German translation for Haydn; 2) van Swieten made later revisions to the English text in order that it better fit the musical setting; 3) in two instances an editor changed the English after van Swieten had completed his work.  Temperley then explores places where the music seems better suited to the original English text than to the German, suggesting that Haydn did not just work with the German text, but had the English text in mind for certain moments.  In the end, Temperley calls for a new scholarly edition based primarily on the original English libretto, with a few modest and careful modifications of the text underlay.  (Indeed, attempts at this would appear during the next two decades; see Weinert, "Review:  The Creation Performance Editions," HAYDN: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America 3.1 [Spring 2013]: http://haydnjournal.org.)

 

Webster, James. "The Creation, Haydn's Late Vocal Music, and the Musical Sublime." In Elaine Sisman, ed., Haydn and His World, 57-102.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.

This is the first of three book chapters written by James Webster since 1997 regarding the role of the sublime in the late vocal works. Webster gives a brief overview of the sublime in the arts as presented by writers in the eighteenth century (arising from Longinus), concluding that with The Creation, Haydn broke into the post-Kantian arena, as conveyed by Michaelis, by drawing a parallel between Haydn's employment of "the incommensurable" and Kant's "dynamic sublime."  This incommensurability is engendered by juxtaposing seemingly disparate elements of topic, performing media, rhythm and gesture, harmony, and even form, notably in what Webster labels compound "run-on" or "through-composed" movements.  Webster keenly systematizes types of sublime passages: General shock, Majesty, Foregrounding of a key text-phrase, Tonal or generic discontinuity, and Climax (which requires a preparation, the apotheosis, and a denouement), and discusses several examples of these categories from The Creation, The Seasons, and the last six masses.  Webster concludes by giving some historical context regarding the position of The Creation at the doorstep of nineteenth-century romanticism, the sublimity of the subject matter, and some few remarks on reception.  

 

Webster, James. "Haydn’s Sacred Vocal Music and the Aesthetics of Salvation." In W. Dean Sutcliffe, ed., Haydn Studies, 35-69.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Here Webster gives a re-assessment of the importance of vocal music in the oeuvre of the father of the string quartet and symphony by quoting some of Haydn's contemporaries and followers regarding the greatness of his sacred and dramatic works, and by reminding the reader that Haydn himself held sacred vocal music in highest esteem, and is said to have "harboured programmatic feelings of a personal nature about certain numbers from the great oratorios" (39).  He then discusses select sacred works in chronological order, in terms of the musical-rhetorical conveyance of various Catholic symbols and beliefs, particularly those related to salvation.  When he arrives at the Harmoniemesse (1802), Webster focuses his discourse on the context of the sublime, turning once again to the concept of incommensurability he had laid out so clearly in his chapter in Elaine Sisman's book, published the previous year (see above).  This becomes his stepping-off point for a very brief discussion of the two great oratorios, in particular the "Representation of Chaos" movement and facta est lux moment in The Creation, and the final chorus of The Seasons. "Thus Haydn's two great oratorios" says Webster "begin with the creation of the world and end with a musical image of the end—of salvation" (67).

 

Webster, James. “The sublime and the pastoral in The Creation and The Seasons.” In Caryl Clark, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Haydn, 150-63. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

By way of context, Webster differentiates the style and dramatic intent of these two oratorios from both Il ritorno di Tobia and The Seven Last Words (relating this shift to the London visits), and argues that the "high" vs. "low" stylistic demarcation in both of the last two oratorios was recognized by contemporary criticism, and even Haydn himself.  This stylistic dichotomy is expressed in terms of the aesthetic modes of sublime and pastoral.  Although generally thought of as contrasting, these two modes are brought into relationship with one-another, giving these oratorios a dramatic scope wherein they together "implicitly tell a single story, one that The Creation introduces, but only The Seasons can conclude" (153).  The structure of The Creation is described concisely, with the mode of the sublime being the prominent aesthetic.  Within this sublime province, the pastoral mode emerges in a number of specific moments and movements, in particular those where "confirming" musical imagery, or tone-painting, is foregrounded.  "Parts I and II of [The Creation], despite there sublimity, are profoundly pastoral as well" (156). Part III, then, leaves Genesis and focuses entirely on Milton's Adam and Eve in a principally pastoral context, innocent, simple, unsullied by the Fall, and thereby conceptually deistic, perhaps even leaning towards Utopian.  Webster's description of The Seasons has this pastoral/deistic Eden topos as a starting point, the principal mode being the pastoral, with some sublime choral stopping posts.  But each passing "genre" scene, relating life's activities to the cycle of the meteorological calendar, moves closer towards the sublime, which is finally fully achieved with the final C-major chorus opening up the heavenly gates.  For Webster, this puts a most sublime exclamation point on the end of both oratorios, which have collectively given a history of history, from Chaos to the Last Judgment. 

Annotated Bibliography: The Creation

III. Journal Articles
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Brown, A. Peter. "Haydn’s Chaos: Genesis and Genre." Musical Quarterly 73 (1989):
18-59.

This is A. Peter Brown's contribution to the long history of analysis of the Chaos movement, from early questions regarding whether or not chaos can or should even be the subject of music (Carpani, Stendahl) through the variety of analytical approaches to the movement in the twentieth century (Tovey, Schenker, etc.). Brown bases his analysis on deductions regarding the evolution of the movement made by studying Haydn's sketches, using Feder's classification of four types of sketch material, and understanding their "two-tier texture" of 1) Fuxian counterpoint (stile antico, "motet style") and 2) contrasting ideas, particularly recurrent rhythmic motives ("improvisatory style").  Descriptions of two musical predecessors by Rebel (Simphonie in Les Élémens, 1737) and Rameau (Overture to Zaïs, 1748), both explicitly representing chaos by distilling out the four elements, set the historical context. Period sources are cited regarding various compositional techniques.  Brown pursues the ideas of fugue and ricercar as rhetorical devices (exordium), along with other motivic-rhetorical gestures, with references to eighteenth-century treatises and older historical sources.  All of these compositional characteristics are related to similar passages found in Haydn's own earlier works. Hypotheses about how audiences might have perceived these ideas of chaos based on contemporary definitions of various related words conclude the article.  Brown provides many helpful manuscript images, score representations, and analytic charts. 

 

Brown, A. Peter. "The Creation and The Seasons: Some Allusions, Quotations, and Models from Handel to Mendelssohn." Current Musicology 51 (1993): 26-58.

After demonstrating the popularity of The Creation and The Seasons through 1830 by comparing the numbers of performances of these works given by the Tonkünstler-Societät to those of other composers, particularly Handel, and stating that the two works have no relevant topical predecessors, Brown gives an overview of the stylistic roots of the various types of music in the oratorios, and shows their influence on the next two generations of composers.  Specific movements of Haydn's oratorios are discussed as having been modeled after archetypes from various opera seria aria genres, Handel's grand choral style, Mozart's music, and Haydn's own earlier music.  Brown then shows influential connections between the oratorios and specific gestures in Beethoven's symphonies, overtures, and Fidelio, Schubert's "Tragic" Symphony, Weber's Der Freischütz, and Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream 

 

Brown, A. Peter. "Options: Authentic, Allowable and Possible in Performing Haydn's The Creation." The Musical Times vol. 131, no. 1764 (February 1990): 73-76.

Referring to the original 1800 published score, which was the sole source used by Mandyczewski for the 1922 Gesamtausgabe edition, and making comparisons to manuscript sources from Haydn's estate and the Tonkünstler-Societät collection (in Elssler's hand with corrections by Haydn), both of which had been part of the same author's 1986 monograph study Performing Haydn’s ‘The Creation’: Reconstructing the Earliest Renditions (see above), Brown offers some specific performance suggestions for consideration.  Some of them are as specific as entrance discrepancies and ornamentation details, and others have broader ramifications.  For example, given the three Harmonie sets, and bass trombone and contrabasson parts in the Tonkünstler-Societät materials, along with specific "solo" and "tutti" markings here and there, Brown suggests ways of utilizing these different choirs of instruments for dramatic effects, using the "In Splendor Bright" recitative to demonstrate.  He also theorizes that the poor acoustics of the Burgtheater, the site of the first public performance, may have contributed to Haydn's inclusion of the extra winds.  Brown speculates that concerns about intonation could have been what led to the crossing out of the con sordino markings in the brass at the beginning of the chaos movement in the engraver's copy, trumping what would otherwise be a stunning effect with the senza sordino indication at the facta est lux moment.  Other suggestions include using a spezzato double chorus in "By Thee with Bliss," and performing the work in the vernacular.

 

Dolan, Emily.  "The Work of the Orchestra in Haydn's Creation." 19th-Century Music 34.1 (Summer 2010): 3-38.

Dolan's premise is that Haydn's use of the orchestra in The Creation reflects the "consolidation of the modern orchestra as a concept, institution, and musical body" which "contributed to the idea of the modern musical work" (Abstract, 38). Haydn was strongly influence by the grand effects of the Westminster Handel commemoration, realizing that big instrumental gestures were something the audience could feel, perhaps even affecting the sublime.  He modeled The Creation on the performances of Handel's works rather than the works themselves, designing it to be performed on a large scale from the outset; consequently Haydn's array of instruments did not require later "updating" for future generations to enjoy the effects. Critics were beginning to pay attention to orchestration in the 1790s, and by the 1830s Haydn (along with Gluck) was being credited with having started a revolution in orchestration.  Modern scholars, too, are beginning to recognize Haydn's orchestral treatment as a critical compositional component.  Dolan uses the Andante movement of the "Surprise" Symphony and the Allegro of the "Military" Symphony to show how orchestration was important to the dramatic shape of the structure of the movements, even in these instrumental works from the 1790s.  According to Dolan (citing Spitzer and Zaslaw) this was possible because of the consolidation of the orchestra at that time into a body of many different sounds, allowing for a variety of contrasting effects.  Such variety helped push contemporaneous discussions of music's potency from the mimetic into the aesthetic realm of the expressive, as Dolan demonstrates in an interesting comparison of Rousseau's 1751 definition of timbre to select quotes from Berlioz's treatise, along with some other eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writings regarding individual instruments and identity/function—instruments, particularly winds, becoming their own voices, not just imitators of the human voice (citing Hoffman and Tieck).  Coming back to The Creation, Dolan suggests that it is a "veritable encyclopedia of [late eighteenth-century] orchestral techniques" (25).  She turns her attention to the Chaos movement, arguing that instrumental treatment more than any other compositional aspect is what expresses chaos, and the searching for order.  From the opening unison to the factus est lux moment the instruments seek out their true orchestral roles, their proper places.  She goes on to argue that once Haydn so fully achieved this level of orchestral identity, the concept of orchestration turned the other direction, until orchestral blend and even the Wagnerian hiding of the orchestra from view pushed the approach to orchestration so effectively utilized by Haydn to the background, where it has remained even in most current musical analysis.

 

Flinker, Noam. “Miltonic Voices in Haydn’s Creation,” Milton Studies 27 (1992): 139-64.

Flinker approaches his interpretation of The Creation from the standpoint that the design of English libretto was not merely a compilation of biblical passages and a few select sections of Paradise Lost, but rather that The Creation is in part a commentary on Milton's great work as a whole, steeped in Miltonic irony and parody.  "This means that the voices of Satan and Milton's narrator are participants in Haydn's Creation along with Adam, Eve, Raphael, Uriel, and Gabriel" (139).  Satan's absence in The Creation text, and the conclusion of the drama leaving a loving Adam and Eve before the Fall, is the basis for what Flinker calls a series of "ironic gaps" that add a level of interpretive meaning to a listener knowledgeable of Paradise Lost.  As an example (one of many), Flinker cites what he considers a deliberate mixing of picturesque language from different parts of the epic in the aria "Rolling in Foaming Billows":  in Book Seven Raphael tells Adam of the creation of the various bodies of water in somewhat subdued terms, with no violent "billows"; the rage and billows, according the Flinker, come from Book One, where Satan first rises from the "burning Lake . . . the flames / Drivn backward slope thir pointing spires, and rowl'd / In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid Vale (I: 210, 222-24, quoted by Flinker on 141).  By converging these two texts in this way, an ironic presence of Satan is intimated in the oratorio, and Haydn's stormy music reinforces that irony.  Furthermore, in Part One time and time again such violent imagery arises, constantly threatening to unravel the ordering of chaos, thereby mirroring the Miltonic anti-creative Satan who allied himself with Chaos.  This irony is fed by what Flinker, citing Levarie, identifies as a "pattern of parody in which man's activity is compared to God's creation" (140) and that Haydn presents "a musical parody of creation [that] was in some sense insisting upon the impossibility of representing God's creation literally or mimetically" (149).  This parody is observed in the often trite, cliché, and awkward treatment of Milton's text, and in the tone-painting passages that have drawn so much criticism since the very beginning of the work's reception history.  For Flinker, Part Three is especially ironic and parodistic.  Adam's "follow me, wife" plea satirically references the central cause of the Fall, as Eve was deceived into following Satan in the form of a serpent to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, and Adam in his turn followed Eve there; the absence of Satan in The Creation gives Eve no one else to follow.  This is preceded by the recitative "In Rosy Mantle Appears" which Flinker says parallels Satan's seduction of Eve in a dream (Paradise Lost V: 40-41).  And the final irony for Flinker is the aggrandizement of marital love in Part Three in a way that "deletes the problematic connections between holy and sexual love that are at the center of Milton's epic" (150).  Flinker gives a very helpful and interesting correspondence of the Creation English libretto and related Paradise Lost texts at the end of the article. 

 

Head, Matthew.  "Music with 'No Past'? Archaeologies of Joseph Haydn and The Creation." 19th-Century Music 23.3 (Spring 2000): 191-217.

As is implied by the title, Head's assessment of The Creation approaches the piece more as an historical artifact than as a masterpiece of music to be analyzed along more traditional lines.  However, he does use conventional aesthetic and musical evaluative tools to support his arguments.  Many monuments and memorials to Haydn existed during his own lifetime, beginning with the 1793 monument on the Leitha river at Rohrau, and especially at the turn of the century, including the 1799 AmZ German composers sun which placed Haydn near the Bach center.  Furthermore, Breitkopf und Härtel proposed their Haydn complete edition in 1799. It is at this time of historical consciousness, when Haydn was seen as a culminating figure in the century of German music development, particularly in instrumental music, a "living fossil," that The Creation was composed, and enjoyed unprecedented popularity throughout Europe.  "Like a flagship," says Head, "The Creation crosses the discursive gap between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, transversing the past, the present, and the future" (196).  Concurrent to and symbolic of this historic consciousness, products such as books on music history and musical monuments projects were developing, taking advantage of the emerging commercial marketplace of the "heritage industry."  But performances of The Creation during Haydn's lifetime contrasted this heritage industry by allowing people to support their national hero Haydn while he was still living.  Furthermore, this music now belonged to them, not a feudal patron.  Within this context, Head discusses ideas of historicism, the creative genius, and works of art from the Enlightenment and Romantic era, positing that historicism began to displace taxonomy as the basis for knowledge and understanding, coincidental with a "man-" to "music-centered" shift in the consideration of music's history.  The Chaos movement represented the struggle for historical meaning, particularly in Triest's formulations of the development of German music.  The Creation became symbolic of a new era, free from its predecessors (Handel oratorios and the Viennese concerted mass) and capable of being compared only with itself, representative of the artistic creative process, the music emancipated from the direct meaning of the text (according to Zelter).  Head also gives the other side of this argument, discussing criticism of The Creation's tone-painting and mixture of styles, seen as symptomatic of the decline of sacred music.  The relationship of Haydn's oratorio to English works (Handel, Milton) associated with the biblical sublime movement in London in the 1730s and 1740s, and the roots of this movement, gives it an identity as product of a "new antiquity," complicating its historical position: it is at once attached to and liberated from its musical tradition, as Adam and Eve are only portrayed before the Fall.  Head demonstrates this metaphor with an analysis of Part Three, particularly that Eve's music undermines her text regarding her relationship to Adam and the new creation.  Other formal disjunctions and stylistic incongruities are discussed, including word-painting techniques, suggesting Haydn's modernity and his ambivalence toward the musical past.  Head then proposes the notion that Creation performances became preparations for Haydn's own death in the mind of the public, with the 27 March 1808 performance, and Haydn's leaving following Part One, representing the death of the author, killed by his own work.

 

Irving, Howard.  "William Crotch on 'The Creation'." Music and Letters 75 (1994):
548–60.

Charles Burney took umbrage at a lecture given by William Crotch at the Royal Institution in 1805, having heard a second-hand report of the lecture's content (probably from J. P. Salomon) criticizing The Creation, particularly its instrumental use.  Crotch and Burney stood on opposite sides of the "ancient vs. modern" musical quarrel in England at the time, but as Irving points out, each spoke from the same basic aesthetic language that recognized criticism in terms of generic propriety.  This has often led readers of both men's critical writings to find inconsistencies.  Irving lays out the generic divisions of each, and their apparent respective generic hierarchies.  The "modern" proponent Burney held to the mid-century hierarchical church/chamber/theatre division, while the "ancient" Crotch's ordering of genre fell into the categories church/oratorio/opera/concert/chamber.  According to Irving, The Creation caused critical difficulties for both men.  Burney spoke of oratorio both as a species of church music and what he called "sacred musical tragedy" falling somewhere between church and theatre.  While Crotch recognized oratorio as a genre, Haydn's work was problematic for his hierarchical placement of oratorio so near church music, particularly due to its picturesque and heavily instrumental content; this despite Crotch's recognition of Haydn as "the greatest of all instrumental composers" (556).  Crotch developed a new category of "ornamental" music that helped him deal with such a work that, for him, relied so heavily on novelty: the curiosity of the audience for new mimetic and instrumental effects.  Irving goes on to show how both Burney and Crotch consider certain specific characteristics of The Creation within their systems of critical analysis.   While Crotch's 1805 lecture is largely illegible, at the end of the article Irving reprints in its entirety an edited version of an earlier, similar lecture on The Creation given in 1800 at Oxford (Norfolk Record Office, MSS 11064).

 

Jenkins, Neil. “Haydn: The Libretto of The Creation, New Sources and a Possible Librettist.” Journal of the Haydn Society of Great Britain 24.2 (2005).   Also located at: http://www.neiljenkins.info/documents/thecreationnewsources.pdf

This study of the English text sources was the first to deal with the topic after the Temperley's 1983 "New Light on the Libretto of The Creation" (in Christopher Hogwood and Richard Luckett, eds., Music in Eighteenth Century England; Essays in memory of Charles Cudworth; see above), and it is the most thorough investigation.  Jenkins says in his "Conclusion" (54-5) that the study was the result of his desire to generate a new, more idiomatic English language edition (published by Early Music Company/King's Music in 2005), which required him to learn all he could about the original libretto.  Throughout Jenkins lets the texts do most of the work, giving complete examples of the English texts from the original 1800 publication and from other sources to demonstrate and prove his points.  It is written in a clear manner that is appropriate for a general readership, which will also benefit from its concise historical information.

Jenkins introduces the problems with the English text by referring to criticisms from Haydn's day and discussing some various attempts to correct some of the awkwardness in editions.  He then gives a discourse on the origins of the libretto and theories about its author (referencing the studies by Temperley, 1983, and Olleson, 1968), concluding that, based on his relationship with Handel, on similarities in style in other of his librettos, and on some additional documentation, Charles Jennens (1700-1773) is the best candidate for the ur-librettist.  Other eighteenth-century settings of Paradise Lost are discussed, and inform the question of how "Lidley/Linley," or whoever gave the libretto to Salomon, came to have it.  Jenkins then turns his attention to portions of the text that did not come from the Bible or Paradise Lost, and identifies James Thomson's The Seasons as their primary source, along with some minor poems by Thomson and Milton, and even a few lines from Shakespeare.  He returns to van Swieten, showing how the structure of the ur-libretto probably shaped his libretto, and then how van Swieten re-translated his German text back into English, dividing his argument between the biblical texts and the Milton materials, and including other sources that helped van Swieten more fully develop his English version of the text.  The libretto for Part Three is handled separately, and Jenkins admits that his conclusions about the shape of the ur-libretto are purely speculative. After an interruption discussing the 1800 edition and published librettos for the Ashley and Salomon concerts in London, Jenkins returns to the Part Three material and suggests that the "Adam and Eve" scenes from Benjamin Stillingfleet's (1702-71) libretto on Paradise Lost written for John Christopher Smith (1712-95) in the 1750s was a model for the last part of The Creation's ur-libretto. 

 

Kramer, Lawrence. "Haydn's Chaos, Schenker's Order; Or, Hermeneutics and Musical Analysis: Can They Mix?" 19th-Century Music 16.1 (Summer 1992): 3-17.

As hermeneutics was beginning to gain a foothold in eighteenth-century music discourse, Kramer set out to bridge the gap between linear (Schenkerian) analysis and criticism, using "Representation of Chaos" as his subject.  Kramer identifies the devaluation of the foreground in traditional analysis, which seeks out qualitatively neutral deep structural integrity and unity, as a fundamental roadblock in converging hermeneutic criticism with formal analysis.  As a place to start, he suggests accepting that signifying surfaces can be value-interpreted, and that expressive surface and neutral depth interact, with the dynamism between layers acting both "to produce and to transmit qualitative values" (6).  Kramer turns to the Schenkerian graph of the "Representation of Chaos" movement, pointing out that the descent of the fundamental line is completed only two-thirds of the way through the movement, which would make it structurally weak according to accepted norms of such an analytic approach.  But he makes historical-hermeneutical arguments, and shows flexibility in his use of Schenkerian principles fitting for such an explicitly representational movement, suggesting that the strength of this work hinges on the relationship of solid resolutions in the background coinciding with foregrounded "violent disruptions."  Kramer also points out a number of other structural aspects, such as the creation of a large registral space that is eventually filled in, and the cyclic structure, comparing them to a number of images (e.g. Blake's "The Ancient of days") and writings regarding the relationship between nature, God, and the sublime (e.g. Kant, James Thomson).  He then carries his analysis forward into the opening recitative/chorus, taking a closer look at four specific aspects: 1) the "appropriation" of the C—D—E-flat motive by Raphael as the biblical narrative commences, 2) the flute descent as symbolic of pulling together the cosmos, 3) the dynamics of the linear progression that finally gives primacy to the dominant-tonic linkage, overcoming chaos, and 4) a lengthy, thorough analysis of the passage from Chaos into Light drawing on standard music analysis and historical and aesthetic interpretive sources.  Kramer concludes by arguing, "extramusical meaning, so often written off as a mirage, a superfluity, a triviality, is precisely the issue on which post-modernist musical studies make their wager.  For once the deep structures envisioned by analysis have been sufficiently historicized to receive culture-based interpretations, the meanings that accrue can no longer reasonably be called extramusical" (17).

 

Kumbier, William A.  "A 'New Quickening': Haydn’s The Creation, Wordsworth and the Pictorialist Imagination."  Studies in Romanticism 30 (1991): 535-63.

After an overview of theories of musical pictorialism (hypotyposis) from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries, and of Haydn's own views of tone-painting as reported by various biographers, Kumbier argues that "the prospect of the Creation offered Haydn the opportunity to explore potentialities of musical figuration that he had not explored in his earlier works, to develop pictorialism's rather conventional mimetic gestures into profoundly metamimetic models that reveal new aspects of musical signification" (545).  To demonstrate, Kumbier references the aria "Rolling in Foaming Billows" and trio "On Thee Each Living Thing Awaits," showing how mimetic gestures become metamimetic in that their use moves from being purely representational of the object to being so thoroughly woven into the musical fabric as to "make one consider how the figures are signifying rather than what they signify" (556). Listeners become engaged less by the extra-musical referents and more by the way the musical signifiers "turn into each other, coincide with and fall away from each other, in a play that is properly textual and—it should be stressed—musical" (556).  This "troping" occurs between and among the overtly pictorial gestures, creating for the audience a moving musical artwork: "[Haydn's] scores open up a way of understanding signification through music that encompasses both referral and deferral—from sign to signified and from sign to sign—in the development of the musical sign as a scene of convergence, complication, and animation" (558).  Kumbier likens this to the poetry of Wordsworth, in particular his description of his emergence at the summit of Mt. Snowdon in Book XIII of The Prelude (1805), where he continually recalls and reinvents words to describe and replace the "blue chasm" in a way that draws attention to itself as a moving force within the poetic picture he is painting, giving it multiple dimensions.  This, for Kumbier, shows an affinity with Haydn's various treatments of the ubiquitous "mountain" motive in "Roaming in Foaming Billows," serving to "respond to a nature that, far from being inanimate, almost had to be shown as active, energized, coming into being, or, more precisely, had to be recreated as such, through what Wordsworth elsewhere describes as a 'new quickening'. . . . Haydn's response urges an interanimation of composer, listener and the world" (563).

 

Loughridge, Deirdre.  "Haydn's Creation as an Optical Entertainment."  Journal of Musicology 27 (2012): 9-54.

Zelter and Triest both compared performances of The Creation to types of optical entertainment, which, while widespread and somewhat popular, often were met with charges of emptiness or charlatanism.  Understanding this comparison of the oratorio to such entertainments helps to contextualize early reception.  Loughridge describes the workings of eighteenth-century technological devises such as the magic lantern and barrel organ, as well as the culture surrounding their use, which generally involved people of low social status, particularly itinerant entertainers (savoyards, Schattenspeilmänner).  She also provides descriptions of magic lantern shows that depict the creation of the universe and other biblical stories, the narratives of which include nonsensical word refrains  ("orgelum orgeley, Dudeldumdey" from Goethe's Jahrmarktsfsest zu Plundersweilern, quoted on 22) alternating with verbal commentary, and some examples of music from plays that contain portrayals of these entertainments, which presumably imitate the actual barrel-organ music that accompanied the lantern shows.   With this background, Loughridge illustrates how The Creation could be compared to magic lantern shows—as in Triest's criticism—with each of the six days passing before the audiences "as an intermittent stream of images synchronous with their verbal description, the interstices being filled with meaningless, mechanical music" (31).  This music was dictated by the text, and Haydn slavishly painted the requisite tones much like a savoyard mindlessly repeating his stories; denying the listener a freedom of imagination.  But magic lanterns shows and other optical entertainments such as Chinese shadow plays and fireworks displays, along with accompanying music played by live instrumentalists rather than mechanical barrel organs, were also used in scientific exhibitions and in the philosophical entertainments of the higher classes. Leibniz describes such events, arguing that they "would open peoples eyes, stimulate inventions, present beautiful sights, instruct people with an endless number of useful or ingenious novelties" (quoted on 48), all of which could be beneficial to the individual and society.  Thus, Zelter's metaphor of The Creation as a shadow play placed it in the realm of the philosophical, able to reveal to its audiences the wonder, the sublimity, of God's creative act, as re-created by Haydn.  Zelter would continue to value Haydn's oratorios, focusing on their ability to arouse awe as human achievements—the ordering of the raw materials of nature to "do one's bidding" (51).  This receptive duality is part of The Creation's interesting legacy. 

 

Lowe, Melanie. "Creating Chaos in Haydn's Creation." HAYDN: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America 3.1 (Spring 2013): http://haydnjournal.org.

Lowe's Abstract:
Haydn’s oratorio The Creation opens with nothing short of a musical impossibility—the sound of infinite nothingness. What does nothing sound like? To open pathways of engagement with this piece, especially for those new to Haydn’s Creation, this essay engages matters of musical representation, from the decidedly not silent opening of the “Representation of Chaos” to the musical depictions of weather phenomena and beasts both proud and humble. Central in Haydn’s representations are his invocations of two contrasting aesthetic modes, the pastoral and the sublime, and I offer examples of each here. While the sublime has historically been the more celebrated of the two modes in The Creation, I discuss the organizational structures of the oratorio to demonstrate how Haydn’s sublime moments may be seen to frame pastoral pictures. Finally, I touch on the reception history of The Creation to suggest that what drama the oratorio may lack in and of itself has been amply supplied by its many critics. I conclude with a reevaluation of Haydn’s naturalisms that situates The Creation within the intellectual, political, and religious contexts of the Enlightenment.

 

Malina, János. "Haydn and The Creation in Buda, March 1800."  HAYDN: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America 3.1 (Spring 2013): http://haydnjournal.org.

Malina's Abstract:
The performance of The Creation in the Royal Castle of Buda on 8 March 1800 under Haydn’s direction has been discussed previously in the Haydn literature. The aim of this article is to complete the picture with a couple of interesting details, including a contemporary color drawing of the venue of the event, the resultant effects of the production in Hungary, the connections of this visit with another meeting of the imperial couple and Haydn at Eszterháza a few months later, the correction of a widespread mistake in Haydn’s biography (with the help of a handful of Hungarian Hussars) and a hitherto unknown Latin epigram glorifying Haydn.

 

Rogers, John.  "'Begin at the Beginning': Haydn, Milton, and the Competitive Drama of The Creation." HAYDN: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America 3.1 (Spring 2013). http://haydnjournal.org.

Rogers's Abstract:
“Begin at the Beginning” examines the nature of the relation between Franz Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Creation and Handel’s great oratorio of some forty years earlier, The Messiah.  The example of Handel’s Messiah is never far from Haydn’s mind.  And it is in part as a means to negotiate his relation to the overwhelming reputation of Handel’s work that Haydn chooses for the libretto of his own oratorio a text based on Book Seven of John Milton’s seventeenth-century epic poem, Paradise Lost, a work obsessed in its own ways with the problems of cultural origins and artistic originality.  In a close imitation of the rhetorical strategies by which Milton attempts to pre-empt or outdo the great early epics of Homer and Virgil, the Milton-soaked libretto of The Creation labors to sideline the religious importance of the Christian story at the heart of Handel’s MessiahThe Creation’s libretto reimagines Christian history by diminishing the import of the Fall and by rendering man’s redemption by a Messiah unnecessary or irrelevant.

 

Temperley, Nicholas.  "Haydn's Tempos in 'The Creation'." Early Music 19.2 (May 1991): 235, 237-240, 243-245.

With his interest in approaching something like an "authentic" performance of The Creation, Temperley discusses several ways of determining tempos, using information from Haydn's contemporaries, published editions, and recordings.  Salieri worked closely with Haydn in early performances of The Creation, playing keyboard and/or leading, and knew Mälzel.  In 1813 it was reported that Salieri provided metronome indications in a score, and some appeared in the Viennese press. However, early commentaries on those few that were reported call into question their relationship to actual performance, and thus their validity as "authentic."  More authentic, according to Temperley, are the metronome markings provided by Haydn's student Sigismund Neukomm in an 1838 vocal-piano score published in London by Cramer, Addison & Beale.  In table form, Temperley compares the Neukomm and the few known Salieri tempos to the indications on the Novello 1858 edition (Shirmer from the same time is identical), and to seven recordings ranging from the very first recording of the work by Clemens Krauss in 1944 to Simon Rattle's and Christopher Hogwood's 1990 recordings, including those led by Horenstein (1959), Wilcocks (1972/3), Marriner (1980), and von Karajan (1982).  Temperley analyzes this data in terms of directional deviation (±%) from the Neukomm makings, and deviation from Neukomm based on tempo categories (slow, moderate, fast, etc.), and compares the recordings to additional descriptive comments given by Neukomm in his vocal-piano edition, e.g. "not slower," "in time."  After thorough discussions of these analytic approaches, his overall conclusions are that, in general, Krauss's first recording is closest to Neukomm's markings, those of the "HIP" performance tradition take individual movements slightly faster, but not consistently, and that other conductors were somewhat slower or much slower than Neukomm's indications, reflecting a closer relationship to the metronome markings in the Novello 1858 edition. 

 

Weinert, William.  "Review:  The Creation Performance Editions." HAYDN: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America 3.1 (Spring 2013): http://haydnjournal.org.

Weinert gives an overview of current available performance materials, including piano-vocal scores and full scores/orchestral parts, with special attention given to those published in the last 25 years.  Weinert's experience as a choral conductor and noted scholar serves him well; he clearly intends this to be information for practicing musicians, particularly conductors, who seek to not only approach the work in new and exciting ways, but also desire to have chorus and full rehearsals run as smoothly as possible.  He takes considerable care in discussing matters of English text, giving a number of options for conductors.  His concluding remarks bring into focus the importance of treating such frequently performed works with vigor and enthusiasm, informed by solid research.  "The production of new editions and performance materials is perhaps the most fundamental way in which musicology and performance intersect, and it is to be hoped that performers increasingly take responsibility for maintaining awareness of the expanding options available to them, even with the most frequently performed works of the repertoire."

Annotated Bibliography: The Creation

IV. Dissertations
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The following dissertations include material on The Creation

 

Dolan, Emily I.  "The idea of timbre in the age of Haydn."  Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University, 2006; Neal Zaslaw, advisor.  ProQuest (AAT 3227110).

Loughridge, Deirdre.  "Technologies of the invisible: Optical instruments and Musical Romanticism."  Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2011; Jeffrey Kallberg, advisor.  ProQuest (AAT 3463020).

Neff, Teresa M.  "Baron von Swieten and late eighteenth-century Viennese musical culture." Ph.D. dissertation, Boston University, 1998; John Daverio, advisor.   ProQuest (AAT 9816651).

Thormählen, Wiebke.  "Art, education and entertainment: The string quintet in late eighteenth-century Vienna." Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University, 2008; Neal Zaslaw, advisor.  ProQuest (AAT 3295862).

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