An Oratorio by Haydn
GERTRUDE JOHNSON (Soprano) : John ARMSTRONG (Tenor) : ROBERT RADFORD (Bass) THE BIRMINGHAM STUDIO REPERTORY CHORUS and ORCHESTRA, conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
THIS was the first Oratorio that Haydn wrote. and he was sixty-four when he began it. He was a rapid composer, as may be gauged from the fact that his output includes about 150 Symphonies and 80 String Quartets, over 50 Sonatas, nearly 40 Trios. 30 Concertos and a great many other things. But rapid as he was, he took his time over The Creation, spending two years over what he regarded very seriously as a religious offering.
The proposal for such a work is said to have been made to him during one of his British visits. Handel's Oratorios, which were written in Britain for British performers and British audiences, attracted his attention. It is said that his admiration for Handel's Messiah led to the desire to compose a work of similar kind.
The first performance was a private one, before certain members of the Austrian nobility in a palace in Vienna, in 1708. The work was heard in London in March. 1800. and in the following autumn the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester introduced it to provincial audiences.
The libretto is an expansion of the first chapters of Genesis, by added commentary. Though Milton's Paradise Lost is supposed to have been another basis for the libretto, there is scarcely any trace of that poem. If at times we find the later words naive, we are to remember that it is an English libretto translated into German and re-translated into English.
The work falls into three parts, the First telling of the work of the first four days, and the Second of the remaining two days, in which man and woman were created. The Third Part describes the beauties of the seventh day.
The following, among many points of interest may be mentioned, in the order in which they occur:-
(1) The Introduction depicting 'Chaos' - strangely Wagnerian in places! (2) In the short Chorus 'And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.' the magnificent outburst at 'And there was Light.' (3) In the Air 'Nor vanish before the holy beams' (and elsewhere throughout the work), the beautiful passages for Woodwind. (4) In the same Air, at the words ' Affrighted feed," and elsewhere in many places throughout the work, the realism. (5) In the Second Part. where animate life begins. observe the big. sweeping phrases set to the words about the eagle, the Oboe treatment of 'the merry Lark,' the cooing Bassoon representative of the Dove, the Flute representative of the Nightingale - and so forth. (6) In Part Three, note what an admirable scheme that of The Creation is, for artistic treatment, inasmuch as it culminates in the introduction of human interest and of the praise of God by Man. The final Chorus bids all created things 'Sing the Lord,' and ever sound His praises.
Conducted by Canon Guy ROGERS
Relayed from St. Martin's Church, Birmingham
THE WIRELESS MILITARY BAND, conducted by B. WALTON O'DONNELL
MEGAN THOMAS (Soprano) ; GLYN EASTMAN (Baritone)
A S a boy of twelve, Elgar wrote some music for a children's play. In 1907 he revised this, and arranged it for Full Orchestra, in the form of two Suites. We are to hear the second of these, in an arrangement for Military Band. It contains the following : March, The Little Bells, Moths and Butterflies, Fountain Dance, The Tame Bear and the Wild Bears.
GOLDMARK'S work is really a Suite of pieces. threaded together by a common idea, rather than a full-dress Symphony. It has five Movements, of which we are to hear arrangements of the Second and Third-romantic pieces that show the composer's skill in light music.
Goldmark is one of those musicians who are remembered only by one or two works. He made a great hit fifty years ago with the Opera The Queen of Sheba, but was never able all the rest of his life to write another work that was anything like so successful.