“PERHAPS NO OTHER PIECE OF GREAT MUSIC HAS EVER ENJOYED SUCH IMMEDIATE AND UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE”: HAYDN’S CREATION, TRUE FIRST EDITION, IN CONTEMPORARY BOARDS
HAYDN, Joseph. Die Schoepfung ein Oratorium [The Creation an Oratorio]. Vienna: T. Mollo, . Oblong quarto, contemporary three-quarter calf, green paper-covered boards, ornate manuscript label on front board; pp. 129. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $7500.
First edition of “The Creation,” preceding Haydn’s authorized editions of the score by one year, fully engraved and in a contemporary binding.
The first edition of the vocal score of Haydn’s greatest oratorio was this unauthorized publication, predating the composer’s own editions of the full score and the vocal score by one year. Haydn’s oratorio The Creation “is a masterwork in the special sense that it has no weak point, nothing that could be changed or omitted” (New Grove). “The text, combining parts of Genesis and Milton’s Paradise Lost, had originally been prepared by Liddell for Handel. Only because Handel had turned it down was it eventually brought to the attention of Haydn… Haydn seized upon it, for he had always nursed the ambition to write an oratorio in the Handel manner and the text provided him with the necessary stimulus” (Cross). Haydn feared that the oratorio “might be too unusual for his Viennese audiences, but in fact it was an unprecedented success… Perhaps no other piece of great music has ever enjoyed such immediate and universal acceptance.” “Haydn’s fresh and charming pictures of the wonders of the creation, from the naïve but always impressive ‘And there was LIGHT’ to the glimpses of the leaping tiger and the creeping worm… The two instrumental preludes, including the superbly controlled ‘Representation of Chaos,’ are masterly” (New Grove). Text in German. Hoboken xxi.2, 41. RISM, H4634. Fuld, 271. Weinmann (Mollo), 35. A few small pencil notations.
Interior generally clean. Some wear and minor worming to spine of contemporary binding. An excellent copy. Rare.