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Haydn's Creation Opens Festival, Composer Tributes

  • Jun 10, 2009
Launching the Oregon Bach Festival’s tribute to major anniversaries of great composers, Helmuth Rilling, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra, and a trio of international soloists perform one of the most beautiful and joyous of choral works, The Creation by Joseph Haydn Friday, June 26 in Eugene and Saturday, June 27 in Portland. In commemoration of the 200th year since his death, it’s an ideal time to recognize and remember Haydn’s genius. Composing with great ingenuity and creativity, with a wealth of resources at his disposal, he became one of history’s most accomplished, prolific, and influential composers. In The Creation, like a master painter with the broadest of canvases, Haydn illustrates each of the first six days of the Genesis creation story, from the first glimpse of light to the heavens illuminated by stars, from the first droplets of rain to the storming tempests of the seas, from the first bird songs to a soaring symphony of animals. Finally, on the seventh day, Haydn depicts the dawn of man and the birth of Adam and Eve, and their glorious early days, as they gavotte through paradise before the Fall. In New York on February 14, Helmuth Rilling led the famed Carnegie Hall Choral Workshop in The Creation, capping a week in which he was honored by the German Consul General for his 40 years of contributing to German American relations through the Oregon Bach Festival. Despite losing two of three soloists to illness—one on the day of the concert—Rilling got the most of his musicians, conducting as he always does, from memory, every note of the two hour piece. The performance was “utterly inspired,” wrote Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times, revealing "what can be accomplished when gifted musicians, guided by a master conductor, immerse themselves in a milestone of the repertory." In addition to Haydn and The Creation, the Festival in 2009 marks other key compsoer anniversaries: