In the Beginning – Creation in Paradise

It is quite an ambitious project to set the Creation story from Genesis to music.  But Joseph Haydn felt he was up to the task and his masterpiece was rolled out in Vienna in 1798.

For the first time, on March 23rd, The Creation will be sung in Bahrain by the Manama Singers.

Musical Director Michael Natzke must have decided it was only fitting that the choir residing in Paradise should sing about the parting of the waters and the creation of all the animals.  Resident artist Seanna Mallen was commissioned to paint her vision of Creation for the official poster.

The Creation covers the story from the beginning – when God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) – until Adam and Eve sing their love duet.  Although neither Genesis chapters 1 nor 2 specifically mentions any serenades, I think Haydn basically brings us up through the end of Genesis where they were naked but probably not singing.

The concert ends with the Angel Uriel vocalizing his advice for the pair to be happy with what they have and not wishing for anything more.  And again, although I really respect Angel Uriel, the only angel I could find was an unnamed cherubim.

I think Haydn wanting his oratoria to be popular committed two sins; the sin of pride – telling the story his way – and the sin of omission – telling the story but not the whole story- when he left out the part about the snake.

Still it promises to be a fabulous concert.

You can buy tickets for Friday’s concert at Al Osra, the Bookcase or at the Diplomat Radisson Hotel.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Seana mallen
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 06:23:19

    Thank you, Eva. I love reading your blog.
    Personally, I don’t believe in the Creation myth, but I do love the story. In my poster, across the water, I have used the words from the Bible that are also in the opening movement of Haydn’s Creation, ” And the spirit of God moved across the face of the water and God said, “Let there be light” and there was light” (This is a thrilling crescendo for the choir. Sadly I am not able to take part, but I went to the rehearsal last night and it sounds FANTASTIC. Don;t miss it! )

    “Fiat lux” means “Let there be light”, and it has always been an important phrase to me. It’s the motto of the University of California, where i was a student,( and I had a sun tattooed on my shoulder when I was 18… when you had to go to a scary biker tattoo “parlour” where the most common motifs were naked women, eagles and skulls. I drew my own sun…)

    Anyway, my painting for the poster includes all the elements of the Creation as it is written in the Q’uran and in the Bible, the seas, the light, the land, the plants, the birds, the animals, and finally, of course, Adam and Eve, all created in 7 very busy days.

    But I question this interpretation, and I’ve always been fond of dinosaurs…

    You will see in the poster, that lizard-like creatures, a tortoise and a fish are all crawling or jumping out of the sea onto the land, as an allusion to Darwin’s theory of evolution.
    Tadpoles are swimming up the arm or God. (It’s not actually God’s hand… it’s my hand, but I was made in the image,,,) The life cycle of the frog is like a microcosm of evolution itself, born from primordial slime, the eggs grow in water, pass through a fish like stage as tadpoles, then grow legs and walk onto the land.

    Or are they tadpoles? Perhaps they are sperm, swimming up to an egg. The most amazing and most common act of creation is the every day miracle of giving birth. Microscopic sperms and eggs become our children.
    We actually create life.
    How awesome is that!

    (Happy Mother’s Day, just a little late.)


    • Eva the Dragon
      Mar 21, 2012 @ 07:39:33

      Thank you for letting us know your intent. I was wondering about those tadpoles.

      I look at Genesis as the STORY of creation. What does a day mean if you are infinite beyond human understanding? How many billions of years existed before man was even created? The Bible includes two creation stories written in different voices, so what does that tell you?

      Evolution is a miracle for it reflects the spark of life God plants in every living thing. God the Creator continues to endlessly create even today. I think combining all these elements into your painting shows the diversity of life and ideas and that your expansive view of creation is a joyful celebration of Life.

      Combine that with song and it should be a great evening.


  2. LmbK
    Apr 04, 2012 @ 13:18:58

    I imagine that Haydn was able to feel the “joyful celebration of life”, the profundity of the Creation, from somewhere deep inside as he lived in a time when one did not have to state one’s beliefs in an emphatic manner (I’m a Creationist! I “believe” in evolution! I take the Bible literally! It’s all Intelligent Design!). He had church teachings, mom’s teachings, real suffering, natural beauty and a natural ear for music to work with – the musical version of The Story is sure to be the most true. I will have to catch the performance somewhere, someday.


Tell Me What You are Thinking

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Tales by Chapter

%d bloggers like this: