a performance given on
Saturday 26 March 2011
All Saints’ Church, The Drive, Hove
Brighton Orpheus Choir
conducted by Stella Hull
Musicians of All Saints orchestra
Muriel Hart (continuo) Helen-Jane Howells (soprano)
Lawrence Olsworth-Peter (tenor)
Nicholas Warden (bass)
There has always been a special relationship between English audiences and oratorio, there was a particular relationship between Haydn and England and there is a profound relationship between Haydn and God.
In consequence, we have an English Creation, a stirring account of which was performed by the Brighton Orpheus Choir and the Musicians of All Saints.
Conductor Stella Hull shaped this voluminous composition into rare coherence: the Spirit of God moved softly, gathering momentum for Uriel’s Let There Be Light and shading thoughtfully into the dynamic contrasts required for deep abyss and glorious heaven.
The slow opening tempo gained power as the world took form, validating Stella Hull’s reflective interpretation.
“God gave me a cheerful heart,” wrote Haydn. “He will forgive me for serving Him cheerfully.”
It was a message taken to heart by the smiling choir in general, but by bass soloist Nicholas Warden in particular whose resounding operatic bass made particular sport with sinuous worms and roaring tigers.
Helen-Jane Howells soprano soared mightily into the apse of All Saints like the nightingale in the score – the stunningly effective flute obbligato here was most beautifully played.
Tenor Lawrence Olsworth-Peter lacked volume but compensated by graceful musicianship, notably in duets and trios.
by Louise Schweitzer
The Argus, 4 April 2011