The Creation: JF Haydn

Spend a day with some of the most joyous and delightful music in the classical repertoire – Haydn’s beautiful Creation.  Composed as a response to Handel’s Messiah, this great work is rightly considered an essential piece for all lovers of choral music.  Come and find out how it was composed and explore extracts of this stunning work with Ben England BEM, Musical Director of the Choir of the Earth.

The day will unfold as follows:-

Part 1. Eisenstadt to Esterhazys

Follow Haydn from his childhood singing as a chorister in Vienna to his first musical roles as a professional, all leading to Eisenstadt and the Esterházy family.
Haydn’s time as kapellmeister for the Esterházys was one of the most fruitful and productive periods in any composer’s life.  Haydn’s effective isolation from society for decades as part of the Esterházy household meant that he was writing music away from the influences of the rest of the musical world – this led to his developing his own style, which itself became the de facto shape of the classical era.


Part 2. The English Period and the Creation of the Creation

Following the death of Prince Nikolaus, Haydn was afforded the opportunity to travel and went almost immediately to England where he found fame, wealth and new musical genres to stretch his imagination.  Haydn’s choral writing had always been strong, but it was on hearing Handel’s Messiah (along with Israel in Egypt) whilst living in London that Haydn was moved to compose his grand oratorio, The Creation.


Part 3.  The Creation – A Masterpiece
Dive into an astonishing work, full of theatrical gestures, orchestration marvels and perhaps the greatest orchestral piece of the 18th century – the overture.  Illustrated with stunning examples taken from professional recordings and Ben’s own performance with Choir of the Earth.


Part 4. The Late Esterhazy and Viennese Period, Haydn’s death and legacy

On returning from London, Haydn found himself working once again for the Esterházys on a part-time basis, whilst enjoying considerable fame and success as the greatest living composer in Europe.  Haydn found himself surrounded by composers such as Beethoven, Salieri, Gluck and many more.

Ultimately, with his home in Vienna surrounded by Napoleon’s troops, Haydn’s death in 1809 marked the end of the classical era.  He left behind a world forever changed musically and a roster of musicians influenced by his genius – Beethoven, Schubert, Gluck, Salieri and many more.  We will explore his musical legacy and follow the fascinating and rather grisly story of his skull which was stolen from his tomb…

Course Details

This course finished on 08 October 2022