Second Musical Festival: 5th: Die Schöpfung

Event Information

Steinway Hall

Manager / Director:
Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]
Lafayette F. Harrison

Frédéric Louis Ritter

Price: $5 subscription; $1; $1.50 reserved

Record Information


Last Updated:
20 December 2017

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

22 May 1868, Evening

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Schopfung; Creation
Composer(s): Haydn
Text Author: Swieten
Participants:  Thomas Orchestra;  New York Harmonic Society;  George Simpson (role: Uriel);  John Rogers Thomas (role: Raphael/Adam);  E. J. Connolly [org-pf];  Euphrosyne Parepa (role: Gabriel/Eve)


Advertisement: New York Herald, 29 April 1868.
Announcement: New York Herald, 22 May 1868, 7.
Announcement: New-York Times, 22 May 1868, 4.
Advertisement: New-York Times, 22 May 1868, 7.
: Strong, George Templeton. New-York Historical Society. The Diaries of George Templeton Strong, 1863-1869: Musical Excerpts from the MSs, transcribed by Mary Simonson. ed. by Christopher Bruhn., 22 May 1868.

“I took Temple to hear the Creation at Steinway Hall. I think he really enjoyed it. Any child with a feeling for music can enjoy Haydn’s clear, honest, substantial phrases of melody. It was a fair performance on the whole, but the chorus broke down at least once and very badly. The solos were generally respectable. Room was crowded—hot.”

Review: New-York Times, 23 May 1868, 4.

“The influence of the weather was very noticeable in the attendance last evening. Not only were the great hall and the smaller one connected with it filled to overflowing, but many hundreds of people were sent away, unable to procure seats or standing room. No doubt the same result would have been obtained on every evening of the week had the sky been at all in favor of the entertainments. As it is, and notwithstanding the spite of the elements, the Festival has been a complete success. And it has deserved to be so. The programmes have been scrupulously adhered to. There has not been a single disappointment or necessity for an apology. Criticism—lenient to be sure toward such an enterprise—has not really had little of any sort soever to do, and has been content with this laborious task. Indeed what could be said of oratorios so well known as the ‘Messiah,’ ‘Elijah,’ and the ‘Creation?’ They are representative works of the three foremost men in this specialty. The ‘Creation’ was given last night with a distribution which included the names of Mme. PAREPA-ROSA, Mr. GEORGE SIMPSON and Mr. J. R. THOMAS. There are no small parts in this work, and hence the listener escapes much ambitious floundering. Mme. ROSA was in fine voice, and sang the two best airs to the oratorio with exquisite purity and repose. These were the ‘Marv’lous work’ and ‘With verdure clad’—never heard we are sure to better advantage. Mr. SIMPSON was again in good trim, but Mr. J. R. THOMAS was evidently suffering from the capriciousness of the season. The orchestra and chorus were alike good, but both staggered under a false beat at the commencement, the grand trio and chorus, ‘The heavens are telling.’ Mr. RITTER quickly recovered himself, and this splendid finale was given finely. The performance, indeed, was extremely creditable. The only thing we regretted in it was the adoption of the paltry trick of turning up the gas when the words ‘let there be light’ occur. It is a vexatious intrusion on a grand narrative, which needs no other culmination than that provided musically by the composer. Imagine that pious man rehearsing a physical miracle with a gas man! So small an expedient is not worthy of imitation. Moreover, it fails of its effect; for the audience, instead of being overwhelmed, simply giggles.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 23 May 1868, 5.

“The performance of ‘The Creation’ last night was decidedly better than either of the two previous oratorio representations, the solo singers all being in good voice, and the chorus much firmer than before. Madame Rosa awakened, as usual, a great deal of enthusiasm in all her arias, especially ‘With Verdure Clad’ and ‘On Mighty Pens.’ That charming passage in the latter, ‘Calls the tender dove his music,’ was a most exquisite bit of vocalization, and both pieces indeed were superbly sung. Mr. Simpson’s most successful effort was ‘In native worth.’ Mr. Thomas was very good in the concluding piano passage of the ‘Rolling in foaming billows’ aria, and sang ‘Now heaven in fullest glory shone’ quite nicely. The well known trio, ‘On thee each living soul awaits,’ was beautifully done, and so, too, was the bass and soprano duet, with chorus, ‘By thee with bliss.’ The choruses, in general, were much better than usual, doing the Harmonic Society much credit; but the same tendency to miss the time and open in a straggling and dilatory manner which we have before alluded to was frequently perceptible. It was so especially in ‘Awake the Harp,’ and still more painfully in the famous ‘The Heavens are Telling.’ This latter grand chorus, however, except the beginning, was sung admirably.”

Review: Dwight's Journal of Music, 06 June 1868, 256.

“In this instance, reversing the Wednesday evening order of things, the solos were far better than the chorus, which latter were poorly done. Of course, Mme. Parepa was superb in ‘With verdure clad.’ The audience was immense. Quite a neat little effect was produced by the lighting of the large ‘sun-burners’ in the ceiling just as the words ‘And there was light;’ the sudden change to brightness from previous dimness was really startling. [? !].”