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BU Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus to perform The Creation at Symphony Hall

CFA presents Haydn masterpiece on Monday

Ann Howard Jones conducts the Boston University Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus at Symphony Hall in 2003. Photo by Vernon Doucette

It’s easy to understand why Haydn’s Creation remains a popular concert favorite more than two centuries after it was composed, says Andre de Quadros, director of the CFA school of music.


The epic-scale work “is a remarkably inventive, humorous piece with large forces — choir, soloists, and orchestra,” says de Quadros, who is also a CFA music professor. The Boston University Symphony Orchestra (BUSO) and the Symphonic Chorus will perform The Creation at Symphony Hall on Monday, November 21, at 8 p.m., the only time this academic year they will perform there.

The Creation is based on the Book of Genesis, supplemented by sections of the Book of Psalms and Milton’s Paradise Lost. The oratorio was immediately recognized as a masterpiece when it was completed in 1798. Every movement “is full of character and personality,” says concert conductor Ann Howard Jones. (Click here to read a full profile of Jones.)

Haydn’s musical word-painting of the Bible depiction of the six days of Earth’s creation (along with the creation of the sun and moon) and other biblical narratives delighted audiences in Vienna, where it was first performed, and within five years it went on to triumph in Prague, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Edinburgh. “The music has an enormous range of expression, from the beautiful opening for the orchestra — often referred to as the Representation of Chaos, to the playful and picturesque portrayals of birds, fish, and whales,” says Jones, a professor of music and director of choral activities at the school of music.

The Creation provides captivating music for soloists, she says, especially for soprano Michelle Johnson (CFA’06), a singer in the CFA Opera Institute. Johnson will sing two of the most famous arias in the work: On Mighty Wings and Now Robed in Cool Refreshing Green. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, she received the Encouragement Award in this year’s Metropolitan Opera New England Regional Finals.

Jones says that members of the BUSO and the Symphonic Chorus always look forward to performing in a world-class venue such as Symphony Hall. “The musicians absolutely delight in the amazing space,” she says. De Quadros calls Symphony Hall awe-inspiring.

Tickets to the concert are $35, $20, and $10 and can be purchased by calling Symphony Charge at 617-266-1200: $10 and 15 tickets for members of the BU community are available at the Tsai Performance Center box office. For more information, call 617- 353-8725.