Harry Christophers discusses the act of creation.
What do you think is the enduring popularity of Haydn’s Creation?
It is quite simply one of the happiest and most joyful works ever written – performers and listeners smile from beginning to end. Like Handel’s Messiah(and of course The Creationcontinues the same genre), it maintained its popularity right from its premiere. Its success was immediate and that is down to the way Haydn captures one’s imagination. His pictorial writing inspires the listener to conjure up images of the creation of the world – Haydn gives us everything, wonderful solo writing, daring orchestration and vibrant choruses.
The composer isn’t always thought of as revolutionary but Beethoven certainly envied this achievement. How much of a game-changer do you find the work?
Isn’t it strange that Haydn has come down to us as very much the grandfather of music and to many that conjures up an old fashioned person. He was, in fact, a ground-breaker and indeed set benchmarks for successive generations of composers. He revolutionised the symphony – he introduced clarinets into his Symphony No 99 and in The Creation...