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    detail of The Garden of Eden painted by Thomas Cole

    Love in Haydn’s Creation

    Plough Music Series

    February 5, 2016
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    • Mark Anderson

      Excellent. Thank you. Did you know that even with all the faults of the Van Swieten "re-translation" that Haydn actually preferred the English? Or that the first US performance (1811) was in the sanctuary of the central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, PA? A later performance in Philadelphia (1822) required the Philadelphians to hire Moravian trombonists since the local orchestra had none.

    • Douglas Thain

      This is beautiful. I did not know Haydn felt that he was bringing the joy of God to people by his music.

    February brings us the nastiest weather of the year. On the other hand, it also brings us Valentine’s Day, and an opportunity to reflect on the wonder and joy of human love, which – as Genesis tells us – was created at the dawn of the world:

    So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God created he him;
    male and female created he them.
    And God blessed them. (Genesis 1:27-28 RSV)

    In this magnificent duet from Haydn’s Creation, Adam and Eve express their delight in each other and enumerate the splendors of the newly created world around them.

    Reflecting on his work in composing The Creation, Haydn once wrote, “Often, when I was struggling with all kinds of obstacles … a secret voice whispered to me: ‘There are so few happy and contented people in this world; sorrow and grief follow them everywhere; perhaps your labor will become a source from which the careworn will for a while derive peace and refreshment.’” Those of us feeling exhausted by the prospect of more snow should draw refreshment from this joyful ode to love and life.

    The libretto of The Creation is the work of a number of poets, and includes sections based on Genesis, Psalms, and Milton’s Paradise Lost. Originally written in English, Haydn worked from a German translation when composing, and it is most often (as here) sung in that language.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7wU_mfKo0g

    This recording – the Freiburger Barockorchester conducted by René Jacobs, with Julia Kleiter and Johannes Weisser as Adam and Eve –  was released by Harmonia Mundi in March 2014.

    Adam
    Holde Gattin! Dir zur Seite
    fliessen sanft die Stunden hin.
    Jeder Augenblick ist Wonne,
    keine Sorge trübet sie.

    Eve
    Teurer Gatte! Dir zur Seite
    schwimmt in Freuden mir das Herz.
    Dir gewidmet ist mein Leben;
    deine Liebe sei mein Lohn.

    Adam
    Der tauende Morgen,
    o wie ermuntert er!

    Eve
    Die Kühle des Abends,
    o wie erquicket sie!

    Adam
    Wie labend ist
    der runden Früchte Saft!

    Eve
    Wie reizend ist
    der Blumen süsser Duft!

    Adam, Eve
    Doch ohne dich, was wäre mir
    der Morgentau,
    der Abendhauch,
    der Früchte Saft,
    der Blumen Duft!
    Mit dir erhöht sich jede Freude,
    mit dir geniess ich doppelt sie,
    mit dir ist Seligkeit das Leben,
    dir sei es ganz geweiht.

    Adam
    Graceful consort! At thy side
    softly fly the golden hours.
    Ev’ry moment brings new rapture,
    ev’ry care is put to rest.

    Eve
    Spouse adored! At thy side
    purest joys o’erflow the heart.
    Life and all I am is thine;
    my reward thy love shall be.

    Adam
    The dew dropping morn,
    O how she quickens all!

    Eve
    The coolness of ev’n,
    O how she all restores!

    Adam
    How grateful is
    of fruit the savour sweet!

    Eve
    How pleasing is
    of fragrant bloom the smell!

    Adam, Eve
    But without thee, what is to me
    the morning dew,
    the breath of ev’n,
    the sav’ry fruit,
    the fragrant bloom?
    With thee, with thee is ev’ry joy enhanced,
    with thee delight is ever new;
    with thee is life incessant bliss;
    thine it whole shall be.

    detail of The Garden of Eden painted by Thomas Cole
    2 Comments
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