75th Diamond Anniversary Gala Concert
Haydn: The Creation
Russ Shelley, Artistic Director
Sunday April 7, 2023 3:00 PM
State College Area High School Performance Hall
Soloists and Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra
with special guests:
State College Area High School Master Singers
Join us for this dramatic oratorio by Franz Joseph Haydn as we conclude our 75th Anniversary season.
This concert will be the final concert conducted by Dr. Russ Shelley, Artistic Director for SCCS for the past 25 years.
Haydn’s oratorio, The Creation, is one of the great masterpieces of the choral/orchestral repertoire. The piece blends Baroque elements from Handel’s oratorio tradition with Classical orchestral forms and structure, and foreshadows nineteenth century romanticism, especially with the opening depiction of chaos.
Dramatizing the story from Genesis, The Creation musically represents the six days of creation and the elements created upon each day. Structured in three parts, the piece is scored for soprano, tenor, and bass soloists along with a four-part chorus and a symphonic orchestra. The three soloists represent angels who narrate and comment on the successive six days of creation: Gabriel (soprano), Uriel (tenor), and Raphael (bass).
Austrian composer Joseph Haydn was one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He was inspired to write a large oratorio during his visits to England in 1791–1792 and 1794–1795. The Creation was then completed between the years of 1796 and 1798.
This piece has been recognized as one of the most iconic compositions ever written as it pulls from not only the Biblical book of Genesis but also the book of Psalms, as well as John Milton's epic Paradise Lost.
The three soloists narrate from these texts but the orchestra also often plays alone, notably in the many episodes of word painting that Haydn is known for: the appearance of the sun, the creation of various beasts, and above all in the overture, the famous depiction of the chaos before the creation.