Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Midweek music spot: Franz Josef Haydn, extracts from "The Creation"

Some of the music from Haydn's Creation, with the correct words.

Nine times out of ten when the chorus and trio "The Heavens are telling the glory of God" is performed,  the second line is sung with completely nonsensical words. It was originally written in English and subsequently translated into German for Haydn by an amateur translator the quality of whose work could politely be described as controversial, 

I do not claim to be qualified to comment on the quality of the German version, but I don't need any vast expertise in German to be to understand that during the process of translation from English to German and back again, to give the version most often performed, the first line of Psalm 19 (In the King James bible, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.") has been mangled and  the subject and object of the second half of the verse swapped round. 

The YouTube clip below is one of the comparatively rare performances with the correct words. The lyrics of this extract are:

Solo Bass 
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 
And the earth was without form, and void. 
And darkness was upon the face of the deep. 

Choir 
And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 
And God said: Let there be light. 
And there was light. 

Solo Tenor 
And God saw the light, that it was good: 
and God divided the light from the darkness. 

Chorus 
The heavens are telling the glory of God: 
 the firmament displays His wondrous handiwork. 

Trio: Soprano, Tenor and Bass 
For day unto day doth show forth His praise: 
and night unto night the same doth proclaim. 
In all the lands resounds the word: 
never unperceived, ever understood.

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