Haydn The Creation Concert review

Athenaeum Singers, The Minster Church, Warminster

Written right the height of his game, Haydn's The Creation, which draws its text from Milton's

Paradise Lost and the Book of Genesis, offered up to the old master a plethora of action to work

with, and he didn't disappoint!

The opening orchestral 'Representation of Chaos' was played by the 'in-residence' orchestra, The

British Sinfonietta with great drama, fully exploring the full range of colour Haydn requires,

particularly in the woodwind. Most notable was clarinetist Rhys Taylor. Conductor Cole Bendall

was excellently in command of proceedings, clearly interpreting the work as he liked. Indeed the

use of a reduced orchestration – two flutes, one oboe, one clarinet, one bassoon, 2 horns, timpani

and strings - allowed for the chorus to be heard almost always.

Of the soloists Niall Anderson's opening bass recitative as Raphael was instantly captivating,

exhilarating and completely off-score gripping the audience's attention brilliantly. Harry Bradford,

tenor had a very sweet voice though perhaps, for the dramatic role of Uriel, was a little

underwhelming, however, when pitched with the two others in the trio sections he matched them

well. Tamsin Raitt, soprano charmed the audience with her beautiful silky tone as Eve as well as

excellently controlled fast passages and radiant top C's when in Gabriel's shoes.

All choruses were handled well by the Athenaeum Singers with great engagement in some,

especially in The heavens are telling, however, the perpetual problem of heads down in some

sections elsewhere lost the excitement Haydn, and Cole Bendall demanded. Despite this, of all the

sections particular praise must be attributed to the basses who provided a solid line throughout as

well as very well controlled fast scalic passages in some choruses, especially in The Lord is Great.

This offering left all of the audience feeling good at the end knowing that they'd heard a very good

evening's concert. All chorus members can feel proud that they gave a very good performance.

Congratulations to all involved!

Neil Moore