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Music Department Celebrates Creations

The Music Department celebrates several creations the weekend of April 25-26: the 40th anniversary of Hertz and Morrison halls, the 50th anniversary of the Music Library, and the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s “The Creation,” with two performances of the monumental oratorio by the University Chorus.

Conducted by associate music professor Marika Kuzma, the concerts are at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 25, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26, in Hertz Hall.

The work tells the story of the creation of the world, with texts adapted from Milton's “Paradise Lost,” Genesis and Psalms.

Soloists will be Dominique LaBelle, soprano; Mark Evans, tenor; and Allan Mosher, ’77, bass, reprising the role of Rafael he sang at Hertz as a student 25 years ago. Evans is making his Bay Area debut. LaBelle, familiar to Bay Area audiences for her performances with the Philharmonia Baroque, recently performed in “The Creation” at Carnegie Hall.

“Haydn’s ‘Creation’ was wildly successful at its 1798 premiere,” says Kuzma. “But in its day, despite its popular success, members of Vienna’s musical elite criticized it for being too pictorial, too literal or naive in its representation of each moment of the creation. And yet it’s the immediacy of its musical images that makes the work so accessible and memorable.”

A short talk on “The Creation” will be given by music professor emeritus and Haydn scholar Daniel Heartz one hour before each performance. As a reminder that it was Handel’s oratorios that inspired Haydn to compose his work, a Handel organ concerto, performed by Kimberly Marshall, will open the concert.

The chorus of some 100 singers is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, staff and faculty spouses. The orchestra will include students, alumni and faculty, as well as professionals in 18th-century music – among them new assistant professor of music and noted baroque bassoonist Kate van Orden and concertmaster Kati Kyme, ’76, co-concertmaster of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

The two performances will not be entirely "authentic" in their recreation of Haydn's oratorio, Kuzma points out. The chorus will sing in English, not in the German of the Vienna premiere, although Haydn composed the work to be sung in either German or English. The orchestra will play modern, not baroque, instruments; a harpsichord will be used instead of a fortepiano.

A Music Department symposium, "Haydn's Creation at 200," will precede the first concert April 25 from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Elkus Room, 125 Morrison Hall. Speakers will include Philip Brett of UC Riverside, Simon Williams of UC Santa Barbara, Elaine Sisman of Columbia, and James Webster of Cornell.

Tickets to “The Creation” ($8/$6/$4) may be purchased in advance from Zellerbach Hall ticket office, 642-9988 and, if available, at Hertz Hall starting one hour before each concert.

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