IN the last decade or so of his life Joseph Haydn, being under less pressure to write orchestral music for his patrons, turned his mature genius to vocal composition. The pinnacle of his achievement in the genre was his oratorio, The Creation. The libretto recounts the story of the first seven days of the creation culminating in God's conception of an idyllic Adam and Eve.
The work was given a memorable performance using an English version by the Wokingham Choral Society in the Great Hall of the University of Reading on Saturday 16 November. The enjoyment of the appreciative audience was enhanced by their conductor, James Morley Potter, who besides writing the perceptive programme notes also gave a fascinating pre-concert talk.
Haydn's score exudes a celebratory exuberant optimism with scarcely any darker moments. This was perfectly captured by the confident singing of the choir and accomplished playing by the Hampstead Chamber Orchestra with Benedict Lewis-Smith on continuo. The culmination of Part Two ('Achieved is the Glorious Work') and the closing sections of Part Three, ending with 'Sing the Lord' made especially impressive use of the resources under the hands of the conductor. The soloists in turn also performed superbly, the coloratura soprano, Robyn Parton, especially singing with unforgettable expressive beauty.
The next performance of the Society will be their ever-popular Family Christmas Concert in All Saints' Church, Wokingham on Saturday 14 December at 6pm.
R. J. Eaglen. 17 Nov 2019