Franz Joseph Haydn traveled around quite a bit during his long musical career. Everywhere he went, he found inspiration for new compositions from the musical cultures in foreign countries.
During one such journey to England, he had the opportunity to hear several performances of large-scale choral works, particularly the oratorios of Handel.
This certainly sparked Haydn’s interest in writing a large oratorio for chorus, soloists and orchestra. The result was his masterpiece, The Creation, with a libretto based on elements from the Book of Genesis, the Book of Psalms, and John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost.
This excerpt we just played for you depicts the creation of the Sun and Moon to light both the day and the night. Just as the tenor soloist finishes describing the first complete day on Earth, a celebratory chorus erupts to express rejoicing over the triumph of light over darkness.