Review of Ely Choral Society’s presentation of Haydn’s ‘Creation’ in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 23rd March 2013

Ely Choral Society was in fine form. In spite of the cold and snow outside, there was a good turn out for Ely Society’s presentation of Haydn’s Creation on Saturday 23rd March in Ely Cathedral. The choir was very well balanced, the singers’ voices strong and enthused and under the keen directorship of Andrew Parnell, many wonderful effects were created. Sudden contrasts, varied speeds, changes of mood and gradual development of interweaving voices added to the overall sense of glory and inner tension that the work inspired.

There were some excellent soloists: Ruth Jenkins (soprano), Greg Tassell (tenor) and Andri Björn Róbertsson (bass). (Sylvia Bulley joined them for the final chorus.) All soloists sang magnificently, their clear tones and expressive nuances effectively resounding in the Cathedral.

The three parts of the composition were well portrayed. The first two described the six days of creation, and Part three depicted the arrival of Adam and Eve. In the first two parts, the recitatives (where a soloist sets the scene by telling the story) were delightfully expressive. Most of them were accompanied impeccably by Jonathan Lilley on the organ. The tunefulness of the arias that followed was positively enhanced by the high quality of the soloists and orchestra. With the chorus, hymns of praise that rounded each section off were strong and meaningful. The Adam and Eve duet by the bass and soprano in part three was superb. The tenor’s opening aria a delight. 

The orchestra, led by Helen Medlock, was first rate. Pastoral moments in the woodwind, delicacy in the strings, and the profundity of ‘cellos (in the second recitative of the second part) were particularly noticeable highlights.  

Overall, all performers this night brought out the joyful nature of the composer and enhanced his impressive characterization of vital words perfectly. This was indeed and excellent evening.

Future dates for you diaries:

Sunday 30th June 2013, 7.30 p.m., Ely Cathedral Ely and East Cambs. Arts Festival Concert

Saturday 26th October 2013, 7.30 p.m. Ely Cathedral Monarchy Restored – Music after Cromwell

Saturday 7th December 2013, 7.00 p.m. St Mary’s Church Ely, Christmas Concert.

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