Kidderminster Choral Society Creation review

KIDDIE CHORAL SOCIETY COMES UP WITH THE GOODS YET AGAIN


HAYDN'S CREATION
Kidderminster Choral Society at Kidderminster Town Hall ****
Kidderminster Choral Society never fails to come up with the goods. Under Geoffrey Weaver's direction they are rehearsed to the highest degree of security, and by engaging the services of Philip Head's Elgar Sinfonia they are assured of an orchestral collaboration of the highest quality. These are amazing players, coming up trumps on the minimum of rehearsal.
Haydn's Creation, one of the giants of the choral repertoire, was here triumphantly delivered by choir and orchestra. It is famous for its grand Handelian choruses (one can almost sense Haydn's awe at the Handel legacy he soaked up during his two stays in London in the 1790s), sturdily rendered by KCS. Sopranos were occasionally flimsy in tone, every choral society could do with more tenors, but the overall effect was zestfully stirring, not least in a splendid, wonderfully affirming account of "The Heavens are Telling".
Logistics were not always satisfactory, however. One of the choristers wandered up through the auditorium and up onto the stage to reach the highest seat while the amazing Representation of Chaos was already playing, and there were certain solo numbers where the Chorus should have been stood earlier, ready to burst in.
The Elgar Sinfonia provided colour and string articulation one could normally only expect from a full-time orchestra. One of the joys of this score is the way Haydn pays tribute to the way the music of his great friend Mozart had shown him how to write for woodwind, and here we heard such luscious timbres, not least from the bubbling, pastoral flute.
Of the trio of vocal soloists, the men were on the one hand nasally vibrato, on the other hand stentorian, and both of the old school of standing and delivering. But the soprano was a joy, Joelene Griffith, a late replacement, radiant and secure right up to the top of Haydn's demanding range, and a singer whose name I shall follow with interest.
Christopher Morley

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