Haydn’s ‘Creation’ –
Saturday 19th March, 2016
Haydn’s ‘Creation’ completed in 1798 and first performed in 1799 was immediately recognised as a masterpiece. The cheerfulness of his music, its inexhaustible inventiveness and its perfection of design conceal a considerable inner strength. This fusion of exuberance, originality, classical elegance and intellectual power explains to a large extent the compelling appeal of his music. All this was brilliantly demonstrated in the performance of ‘Creation’ given in the beautiful Ottery St Mary Parish Church on Saturday. This extremely well organised society have large screens in the church showing the performers to any audience who may have a slightly restricted view, attractive and informative programmes and a host of people to help and make all feel welcome.
The soloists were all of the first order, Christine Marsden, soprano, a frequent performer with this choir once more gave a delightful performance, always sensitive to both words and music with great clarity of voice. Lesley Baker, tenor, is also a regular soloist with the OSMCS and once again he delivered a top performance, clear, musical, with perfect diction and totally reliable. Alex Poulton, bass-baritone, has not sung with this choir before and they would do well to include him again as a soloist. He gave a delightful rendition of the part particularly in the duet Graceful Consort. With his interpretation it became a beautiful love duet between Adam and Eve. If one had an adverse comment it would be that his projection in the low register could have been better but it is a very minor point. All the soloists blended well in the ensemble sections.
The choir was outstanding. All the choruses were crisp and entries were exact. The balance was comfortable with no one part dominating and it was refreshing to have such a good tenor section. They had obviously been well rehearsed and trained. The diction was clear, entries in the fugues were prominent and they complemented the soloists without drowning them. The orchestra, ably led by Sarah Greinig, was first class with some excellent flute and horn sections.
Malcolm Matthews, who has developed this choir over the last 16 years, has brought it to the point where it is probably the best amateur choir in the district. He controlled the entire evening with skill and sensitivity to the music and led all the performers in a way that lifted them above the average to give energy and life to a wonderful work. He should be proud of them.
All this added up to one of the best performances that have been heard in the county for a very long time.
The retiring collection raised the sum of £240 for Hospiscare.