Crucial to the spectacular effects of Joseph Haydn's Creation (1798) are his precise manipulations of his orchestra. From the brilliant moment of light to the colorful depictions of animals, these moments depended upon the new status of the orchestra in the late eighteenth century. Haydn's ability to control his instrumental forces so diversely reflected the consolidation of the modern orchestra as a concept, institution, and musical body. This article uses the Creation as a starting point to explore dramatic changes to late Enlightenment music and musical discourse from a material perspective of instrumentation. The transformation of the orchestra created the possibility for new styles of orchestration that engaged in precise and nuanced ways with instrumental sonority; no longer was the orchestra a blunt force, but rather an autonomous community of ““envoiced”” instruments capable of a variety of expressive nuances. Looked at more broadly, this consolidation also allowed for the increased circulation of large orchestral compositions around Europe, which in turn contributed to the idea of the modern musical work. Approaching the music of this period from the perspective of orchestration also invites a reconsideration of Haydn's ““Vorstellung des Chaos””: rather than transgressing the boundaries of form, melody, or harmony, Haydn undoes the fabric of the orchestra, creating chaos out of the inchoate gestures of the instruments. His representation of chaos is a process by which disparate instruments coalesce to become a unified ensemble; the creation of light is at once the creation of an orchestra.
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