Haydn and the Heavens


For the anthem at the Offertory this Sunday morning, October 5, the Parish Choir sings the well-known choral staple, “The heavens are telling” from The Creation, by Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809). During his visits to England in the late 1700s, Haydn heard the large choral works (oratorios) of Handel and was inspired to write his own.

The Creation was written in three sections: Part I celebrates earth, heavens, light, water, weather, plants, and trees; Part II celebrates the creation of fish, birds, animals, and man and woman; Part III takes place in the Garden of Eden and celebrates Adam and Eve before the fall.

“The heavens are telling” from Part I is a setting of Psalm 19:1-3, the appointed Psalm for today, and begins with alternation between the chorus and three angels (Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael). The piece ends with a grand choral fugue with the text, “the wonder of his work displays the firmament.”


Franz Joseph Haydn


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