The Rite of Spring may have caused a riot, but this oratorio needed the police to keep the audience in order.
It’s a moment I’ll always remember. It was my first year at university. The lecturer walked into the room, said nothing, but put on a recording. Out of the speakers came music, the likes of which we 18 year-olds had never heard before; discordant and not a cadence in sight. Some hushed singing followed, and then an explosion of C Major which riveted us to the spot. What we thought we knew about “classical” music was forever changed and, of course, the lecturer had our full attention!
That unforgettable conjuring up of chaos ceding to light is but the first of so many musical wonders in this, Haydn’s most famous and most loved work. Divided into three parts, the first two sections of the oratorio describe the six days of creation and the final part the blissful relationship of Adam and Eve before the fall.
“Eagles, doves, nightingales, whales, leviathans, lions, tigers, stags and even worms are strikingly portrayed “
Wonders abound, including a sublime evocation of the first sunrise...