Franz Joseph Haydn’s ‘Creation’ Will Be Played at St. Matthew’s Church in the Palisades

St. Matthew’s Music Guild will conclude its 32nd season at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2 with a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation.”

This performance will also mark the final concert for Thomas Neenan, music director and co-founder of The Chamber Orchestra, who is retiring after 36 years at St. Matthew’s Church.

The concert will feature soloists Harriet Fraser, Steve Pence and Jon Lee Keenan, the Choir of St. Matthew’s Parish, and guest singers who have been featured in past Music Guild concerts.

Thomas Neenan
Thomas Neenan

“The Creation” was first performed in Vienna in 1798, and was largely inspired by the English choral tradition, which the composer became acquainted with when he journeyed to England.

When Haydn attended the large-scale Commemoration Festival performances given in honor of George Frederic Handel in 1791 and heard English oratorios such as Messiah and Israel in Egypt, he was deeply moved by the grandeur of the music and by its immediate effect on the audience. Haydn was given a suitable libretto by his London impresario Johann Peter Salomon, and when he finally returned from England in 1795 he asked Gottfried Baron van Swieten, the Prefect of the Imperial Library, to prepare a German translation.

Tickets are $35 at the door or through the Music Guild website. St. Matthew’s Church is located at 1031 Bienveneda Ave. Visit or call (310) 573-7421 for more information. 

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