Plymouth Philharmonic Choir has just announced details of its Christmas concert. Choir spokesperson Jane Hawker wrote: ‘And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.’ These simple words from the Book of Genesis inspired Haydn to compose what must be the most famous fortissimo ever written for chorus and orchestra.
It produced such a reaction in the Viennese audience at its first public performance in 1799 that the orchestra had to down their instruments for several minutes. Plymouth Philharmonic Choir will hope to produce the same sense of awe when they perform Haydn’s Creation on Sunday 1 December at 7.30pm at Plymouth Guildhall.
Sense of wonder
Haydn’s Creation is characteristic of his uncomplicated, emotionally healthy musical expression. It conveys a naïve, almost childlike sense of wonder at the ‘new-created world’. This devout composer modestly attributed his talent to God. Overcome by exhaustion as he neared the end of his work on the piece, he begged God to give him the strength to finish it.
Once again Plymouth Philharmonic Choir is very fortunate to have the internationally renowned tenor and musicologist Neil Jenkins as soloist for the evening, and to be singing from Neil’s new English edition of Creation.
The spirit of Haydn’s endeavour
Haydn himself preferred English-speaking audiences to hear the English translation, which was published simultaneously with the German libretto, but in Neil’s words it displayed ‘many signs of having been put together hurriedly by inexpert English speakers’. Neil has won widespread acclaim for turning the text into something that can be performed convincingly in English, while remaining true to the spirit of Haydn’s endeavour’.
Soloists Catherine Hamilton and Darren Jeffery will join Neil Jenkins and conductor Christopher Fletcher on the podium. Tickets can be purchased from Mainly Stationery, 9 Duke Street, Tavistock and The Framing Centre, 83 Hyde Park Road, Plymouth. They are also available online at the choir’s website
Plymouth Philharmonic Choir’s English Date with Haydn is on Sunday December 1 in Plymouth Guildhall, at 7.30pm
Philip R Buttall