Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Joins Symphony in C for The Creation Oratorio

April 17, 2013

Janelle McCoy, Executive Director
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
Edward McNally, Above The Fold

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Joins Symphony in C for The Creation Oratorio

Maestro Rossen Milanov Conducting Two Performances of Haydn’s Epic Masterpiece, May 11 & 19

(Philadelphia) Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia helps celebrate the 60th anniversary of Symphony in C by performing Haydn’s masterpiece The Creation under the baton of Maestro Rossen Milanov. The vocal soloists are affiliated with the Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts, including Andrew Bogard, bass-baritone Roy Hage, tenor and Chloe Moore, soprano. According to available historical records, this will be the first time th at Mendelssohn Club has performed The Creation in the 140-year history of the organization. The magnificent 105-minute concert will be presented only twice; on Saturday, May 11 at Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts and on Sunday, May19 at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral in West Philadelphia.

See concert details below for links to purchase tickets to either concert.

The oratorio depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the biblical Book of Genesis and in Milton’s Paradise Lost. While widely considered to be Joseph Haydn’s masterpiece, some critics have gone so far as to describe The Creation as a summation of Haydn’s life. The epic oratorio features a brilliant combination of styles—chamber, church, symphonic, and theatrical—in one compelling magnum opus that became a model and inspiration for Beethoven and many later composers.

“Anyone with any curiosity at all about classical or choral music will want to be in the audience for one of these concerts,” says Alan Harler, Mendelssohn Club’s Artistic Director. “The Creation is a major masterpiece in the choral canon and includes some of the most beautiful music ever composed. And even in Haydn’s time it was very rare to be able hear a chorus as large and rich as the 140 voices in the Mendelssohn Club.” Harler added, “The fact that the libretto is in English with poetic language from the King James Bible will no doubt be an added attraction for some listeners.”

Maestro Rossen Milanov will be conducting both performances. He says, “Haydn’s The Creation has been a work that has been on my musical radar for a long time. Its igenuity, splendid vocal writing and exuberant choruses are a spectacular triumph of the human spirit! “ Milanov added, “As always, I am looking forward to share the stage with Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia and a talented cast of soloists from the Curtis Institute of Music and Academy of Vocal Arts.”

The Creation
with Symphony in C , conducted by Maestro Rossen Milanov

Saturday, May 11, 2013
8 pm

Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts
Gordon Theater
Third & Pearl Streets
Camden, NJ 08102

Click here for tickets for this performance


Sunday, May 19, 2013
4 pm

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
3723 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Click here for tickets to this performance

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

For nearly fourteen decades, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities. Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing, or reaching out to, new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.

“Few organizations have so strategically embraced innovation and collaboration.” explains Tom Kaiden of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, “Mendelssohn Club constantly finds new ways to bring the audience into the experience. It’s why they are one of the most exciting choruses in America today.” For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2012- 2013 season, visit You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at

Symphony in C

Symphony in C, formerly The Haddonfield Symphony, is one of three professional training orchestras in the United States preparing musicians and conductors on the cusp of world-class careers through concert, educational outreach and professional development programs. The mission of Symphony in C is to maintain and support a symphony orchestra that provides training for tomorrow’s well-rounded orchestral musicians, music directors, soloists and audiences by presenting excellent artistic and educational programs. Symphony in C has been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and strives to make an artistic, educational, and economic impact on a regional, national and global scale.

Rossen Milanov, Music Director, Symphony in C

Maestro Milanov has served as Music Director of Symphony in C since 2000. In 2006, he was named Artistic Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Rossen Milanov also serves as Music Director of the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria and Chief Conductor of the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony. Current season highlights include debuts with Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of Komische Oper, Berlin, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Swedish Opera (with a ballet triple-bill), and he will make his Carnegie Hall debut with the St. Luke’s Orchestra.

In the United States, Milanov has led concerts at the Aspen Festival, the Baltimore Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Grand Teton Festival. Internationally, he has worked with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Lucerne Symphony, the Residentie Orchester, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in a new production of Le Sacre du Printemps and Petrushka danced by the ballet of the Grande Theatre du Geneve.

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)

The Austrian composer Joseph Haydn was one of the most prolific and prominent of the Classical period.  He has been called the “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet” because of his important contributions to these forms. Haydn was also instrumental in the development of the piano trio and the evolution of sonata. The legendary composer was a close friend of Mozart and his many students included the young Beethoven.

Joseph Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until later in his long life, he was, as he put it, “forced to become original.” In the 1790s, stimulated by his visits to England, Haydn created music that often employed familiar folk elements while retaining a rigorous musical structure. Haydn’s popular style was immensely successful and can be heard in virtually all of his later work, including the twelve London symphonies, the late quartets and piano trios, and the two late oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons. At his death in 1809, Joseph Haydn was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe.

Remaining Concerts: Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia 2012 – 2013 Season

Sunday, June 2, 2013
7:30 pm

Mahler’s Symphony No. 2
with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
Louis Scaglione, conductor

Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
260 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

A magnificent opportunity to hear Mendelssohn Club Chorus with Philadelphia’s best young instrumentalists!  The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and Mendelssohn Club join forces in Mahler’s dramatic Symphony No. 2 with Maestro Louis Scaglione conducting.

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Background information on The Creation adapted from Symphony in C program notes compiled by Eric
Polack and Joseph C. Schiavo

As an extended musical composition for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, an oratorio is like an opera, but with a text based on a religious theme and performed without action, costume, or scenery. According to Bruce C. MacIntyre, “…The Creation is a summation of Haydn’s life. It features a brilliant combination of styles—chamber, church, symphonic, and theatrical—in one compelling magnum opus that became a model and inspiration for Beethoven and many later composers.”

Haydn composed his masterwork over a two-year period from 1796 -98. He later remarked, “I was never so devout as when I was at work on The Creation. I fell on my knees each day and begged God to give me the strength to finish the work. I spent much time over it because I expect it to last for a long time.” The composer worked on the project to the point of exhaustion and collapsed into a period of illness after conducting its premiere performance.

The text of The Creation has three sources: Genesis, the Biblical book of Psalms, and John Milton’s Genesis epic Paradise Lost. The work is set for three vocal soloists (soprano, tenor, and bass, with an incidental solo for alto in the finale), four-part chorus (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), and a large Classical orchestra consisting of 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, alto, tenor, and bass trombones, timpani, and typical string sections of first and second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. For the recitatives, a harpsichord or fortepiano is also used. Between the private premieres for nobles and the public premiere in 1799, Haydn added extra instrumental parts to the work.  The forces for the public premiere numbered about 120 instrumentalists and 60 singers, a very large production by the standards of his day.

The choral singers in The Creation are employed in a series of monumental choruses, several of them celebrating the end of one particular day of creation. The orchestra often plays alone, notably in the episodes of tone painting: the appearance of the sun, the creation of various beasts, and above all in the overture, the famous depiction of the Chaos before the creation. The three soloists represent angels who narrate and comment on the successive six days of creation: Gabriel (soprano), Uriel (tenor), and Raphael

The Creation was an instant success and subsequently performed at many charity performances with Haydn conducting. He published the work himself and sold it by subscription all over Europe.  Remarkably, it was also performed more than forty times outside Vienna during the last decade of his life. Audiences flocked to experience Haydn’s masterpiece in other cities in Austria, Germany and England as well as in concerts in Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Russia and the United States.