Discover The Creation of Joseph Haydn, with conductor and musicologist Joseph Fort. Joseph will introduce you to the fascinating inner musical workings and rich history of this late-eighteenth-century masterpiece. Whether you have sung this piece a hundred times or never heard it before, this course will shed new light and introduce new features to hear in this wonderful music.


Fee: £120 (25% off for under 27s) Code: 20/OL38

What is the course about?

The Creation by Joseph Haydn is surely one of the great compositional masterpieces of the eighteenth century, which has enjoyed continuous popularity ever since its composition in 1798. Inspired by Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt, which Haydn had recently heard on a visit to London, The Creation uses impassioned arias and powerful choruses to tell the story of that most unfathomable of mysteries—the Creation of our world. Religious convictions and depictions of the natural world come together here in glorious combination, to create a rich tapestry of sound. In this online course, conductor and musicologist Joseph Fort will offer an in-depth guide to The Creation, showing many musical features that you can listen out for, as we work through a (licensed) recording of the work. Singers are welcome to sing along at home!

We will also explore some of the music and culture that inspired Haydn’s composition of this work, which drew its inspiration from quite a variety of sources (including a trip to Slough that Haydn made in 1792…). We will look in depth at the libretto for The Creation, which Baron van Swieten assembled for Haydn out of the Book of Genesis and Milton’s Paradise Lost (van Swieten also annotated the libretto with musical suggestions for Haydn’s consideration!). And we will investigate some of the early performances of this work across Europe, which cemented Haydn’s place as a leading composer of his day.

For those who know and love The Creation, this course will introduce some new ways of listening to this music, and for those who know it less well it will provide a clear guide to this masterpiece.

Tutor website: www.josephfort.co.uk

What will we cover?

in-depth guide to the music of Haydn’s Creation;

comprehensive history of The Creation’s composition and its influences;

exploration of early performances of The Creation and the performance traditions of which these were a part;

singing the music of Haydn and his contemporaries.

What will we accomplish? By the end of this course you will be able to…

have a deeper knowledge of The Creation’s musical workings, and be able to recognise particular musical features in the work;

know much more about historical performances of The Creation and consider how this knowledge might inform ways in which we perform the piece today;

singers will have aspects of their performance developed (depending on each individual performer—e.g. stylistic elements, linguistic elements, etc.).

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Although this course is aimed at choral singers who can read music and may well have sung The Creation, it also aims to be accessible to any individuals who enjoy listening to music and want to learn more about it. The ability to read music is needed to engage fully with the course, although much of the content (e.g. the historical side) does not need this.

How will the course be taught, and will any preparation be required?

The course will be taught online via Zoom, with two sessions of 1.5 hours per day. On each day there will be a 50:50 split between discussion of the work’s music and its history. There will be opportunities for questions throughout.

Participants would do well to listen to a recording of The Creation  beforehand, to (re-)familiarise themselves with the music.

Will music be provided in advance of the course?

A vocal score can be downloaded in advance from:


The Creation was intended from the start to be bilingual in nature, with German and English versions available from the outset. Although we will focus on the English version, we will consider the German version as well. When reference is made to other versions, music for this will be provided as necessary.

Is there anything I need to bring?

Access to a computer with a built-in microphone and camera. Participants who are using their own personal vocal score might also want to have a pencil nearby, to mark points of interest!

What previous participants said about this course…

"A lovely balance between listening to the information and listening to the music and also the chance to sing along. I have learned such a lot about Brahms himself and the Requiem, which is one of my favourite choral pieces. There was such a lot I did not about the work and I found the analysis of the score absolutely fascinating and eye-opening."

"Very knowledgeable tutor who also has a clear voice with excellent diction. The pace of the course was just right as was the balance between talking and singing/ listening."

"Serious  expertise put over in a very accessible and friendly way. A good balance of talking (with illustrations) and music."

"Joe is an excellent tutor; knows how to 'balance' each session - and knows his topic inside out!"