Lang: world premiere of The End of Creation

Lang: world premiere of The End of Creation

The Augsburg State Theatre has addressed the man-made apocalypse in the form a staged oratorio with a multi-disciplinary cast of singers, dancers and actors. Haydn’s Creation is confronted not only by contemporary literature but also by a new composition from Bernhard Lang that brings Haydn’s classical tradition into the modern age. André Bücker’s production combines texts, music and dance to produce a complex total artwork. The world premiere in April 2022 was met with great audience and critical acclaim.

World premiere of The End of Creation

About the work

After 3.5 billion years of life on Earth, five great mass extinctions that each wiped out 60 to 70 percent of higher life forms and thousands of years of human civilization, we may be facing the next cataclysm: man-made climate change is already triggering the next mass extinction. What happens when the human part of creation comes to an end? Does culture, civilization, life itself perish? Who or what survives, becomes transformed, adapts?

Visionary science-fiction author Dietmar Dath has transformed the recitatives from Haydn’s great oratorio The Creation into scenes to be played by actors. Their characters searchingly scrutinize the act of Creation as a creative process entailing both appropriation and destruction, and in doing so they also call themselves into question. The third part of the original Creation is replaced by Bernhard Lang’s The End of Creation which, with André Bücker’s libretto, unsparingly assesses the current state of the Anthropocene and the future of humanity.

World premiere of The End of Creation

Lang on The End of Creation

"Following the double overwriting of Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words, I have now undertaken the second overwriting of The Creation. This is based on two texts: Lord Byron’s Darkness and Jean Paul’s Speech of the Dead Christ, fashioned into a libretto by André Bücker. Haydn’s score is “painted over” in several ways: first, by clouding the original harmonies with spectral tones; secondly, by using the cut-loop technique of cinematic deconstruction; thirdly, by interpolating newly composed passages. The orchestra of the original is augmented with synthesizer and electronics as well as being greatly enlarged. The playing time is around 35 minutes. Structurally, the piece represents the third part of The Creation as a new version in which Haydn’s “Chaos” and the fall of the angels serve as the musical source material."

World premiere of The End of Creation


"Against the background of a gloom-and-doom scenario that’s no longer so far-fetched, the Austrian composer Bernhard Lang has created an unearthly new third part [for The Creation], employing a greatly enlarged orchestra. This reverential homage to Haydn succeeds impressively, brilliantly updating the oratorio and creating subliminal connections without resorting to quotations."
Orpheus, 4/22

"Lang accompanies the moment after the Fall with percussion, gong, mallet instruments and rhythms that cut against the beat until reaching a shattering tutti crescendo. Film music for the theatre, with a sensitive ear for Haydn. Music that contains within itself both creation and destruction."
Augsburger Allgemeine, 12.04.2022

"The evening is really rounded out with the performance after the interval of composer Bernhard Lang’s newly conceived third part of the oratorio... Further building on Haydn’s “Chaos”, at times sneaking in quietly, at others with blunt impact. The original score can be heard again and again through Lang’s new composition."
Die deutsche Bühne, 11.04.2022

"Costumes suggesting military uniforms. Extremities assembled into a corpse.... Lang instead of Haydn. Lang has created a rhythmically powerful work, classically scored but with lots of added percussion, which maximizes its expressive potential. It sounds terrifying and is chillingly well composed. Humanity destroys both itself and its world. A man and a woman are left, and they pack themselves into body bags."
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 11.04.2022

Score of The End of Creation

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Photos: Jan Pieter Fuhr