Monday, March 26, 2012


On Sunday the 26th of March a joyful noise filled the Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach.  Ordinarily and regularly, beautiful noise is made by the choir.  Occasionally and surprisingly, hot and cool noise is performed there by parishioner, Dewey Erney who sings the American Song Book.  Extraordinarily and only occasionally will the music of Franz Josef Haydn’s The Creation be celebrated by the voices of the Long Beach Chorale and instruments of the Long Beach Chamber Orchestra.

While the orchestra started off a bit reedy in tone I think that “in the beginning” there probably wasn’t as much moisture as was presented to us during the passing storm system.  The first soloist began the oratorio with skill and direction.  Then the magic happened – the chorus burst forth proclaiming “Let there be light.”  Seventy voices sang as one.   I had goose bumps which continued throughout the program. 
Eliza Rubenstein, the Chorale and Orchestra’s artistic director, magnificently provided this experience.  True to the original concept, Rubenstein even managed to bring a fortepiano into the church.  In a program footnote, we were told that the fortepiano, the most immediate ancestor of the modern grand piano, is smaller in size and lighter in touch than today’s instruments.  This particular fortepiano was built in 1825 by Broadwood & Sons piano factory in London, the same company who rented Haydn a similar instrument for the London premiere of The Creation in 1800.    Rubenstein also provided insightful commentaries alongside the recitatives and arias.

While George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah (containing the well-known Alleluia chorus) is probably performed more often and with a massive number of voices and instruments; Handel composed it rather more simply and it has taken on a new persona.  The Creation, however, was this weekend, performed as it was written by Haydn and the beautiful noise resulting came from the performers’ love of the music.   If you missed it, bookmark the group’s website so you can be in line for their next joyful noise.
For additional information on the composer, a full description of the work and other information Wikipedia is an excellent source:

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