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The Creation

The Creation (German: Die Schöpfung) is an oratorio written between 1796 and 1798 by Joseph Haydn, and considered by many to be his masterpiece. The oratorio depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the biblical Book of Genesis.

Haydn was inspired to write a large oratorio during his visits to England in 1791-1792 and 1794-1795, when he heard oratorios of Handel performed by large forces. Israel in Egypt is believed to have been one of these. It is likely that Haydn wanted to try to achieve results of comparable weight, using the musical language of the mature classical style.

The work on the oratorio lasted from October 1796 to April 1798. It was also quite obviously an act of faith for this deeply religious man, who appended the words "Praise to God" to the end of every completed composition. He later remarked that: "I was never so devout as when I was at work on The Creation; I fell on my knees each day and begged God to give me the strength to finish the work". Haydn composed much of the work at his residence in the Mariahilf suburb of Vienna, which is now the Haydnha...

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