Thursday, March 21, 2013

Robert Shaw, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
"Haydn: The Creation" (CD)

While not as famous as Handel's 'Messiah' or Bach's 'St. Matthew's Passion', 'the Creation' certainly stands amongst the most important oratorios ever penned.

I played this work about a year ago and was eager to learn why Haydn is still regarded as a master of his craft.  In my mind he's always overshadowed by Mozart, yet his impact on the craft is indelible.  Why?

Well, beginning with the overture (which depicts the shapeless void before creation) we must admit that Haydn is a master a text painting and the "sturm und drang" effects which cause so many tonalities and pitches to grate against each other while we wait for God to speak the world into existence.

The performance is done in English on this recording with a libretto done by Robert Shaw himself.  Shaw's seminal recordings with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus have set the benchmark for many of our modern interpretations of choral works.

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