Based on the part of the King James Version of the Bible concerned with the seven days of creation, Copland chose a mezzo-soprano soloist and mixed chorus acapella to tell the oft-told story. As he explained, "I was striving for a gentle narrative style using the biblical phrase ëAnd the next day . . .' to round off each section." Robert Shaw conducted the premiere in Memorial Hall at Harvard and again in New York at Carnegie Hall; Nell Tangemen sang the difficult but extraordinarily effective solo part.
-Vivian Perlis, 1998