Review of Eastbourne Choral Society’s
performance of Haydn’s Creation May 2009, by Carol Mounter
16th May proved to be a bumper treat day for the residents of Eastbourne, who
attended a performance of Haydn's Creation at All Saints’ Church. The
production, with the combined choirs of Eastbourne Choral Society, Moira House
Chamber Choir and Eastbourne College Choral Society and Eastbourne Symphony
Orchestra, was ably led under the baton of John Hancorn whose interpretation of
the work was both inspiring and dramatic. This is a piece which is obviously
dramatic but can easily descend to pantomime - John Hancorn managed to imbibe it
with colour whilst keeping the individual sections precise to their meaning.
The Choir, from the first magical sotto voce opening to the subito forte, kept
the audience spellbound. Eastbourne Choral goes from strength to strength and
is sounding more professional with each concert they give. The addition of
Eastbourne College and Moira House meant that we were treated to a balanced,
crisp swell of sound. The Orchestra, also, played exceedingly well and the
individual instrumentals within the whole were sensitive and mellifluous.
Creation (a late composition, 1797-1798) was one of Haydn's favourite works and
he was quoted as saying that he spent much of his time on his knees in prayer as
he composed the work. There is an odd little anecdote that when Creation was
played to contestants on a radio 3 quiz programme, three of them thought it was
There is much in the score that is operatic in content and to that effect, the
soloists were well-matched to the piece.
Firstly, soprano Kishani Jayasinghe. A treat for eye and ear...sounding as well
as she looked, this young Sri Lankan soprano sang her arias with an effortless
assurance. Her coloratura flexibility aligned with a warm and rounded middle
voice to make every note a delight. As she grows in experience, this young
soprano finds more warmth and colour and I especially enjoyed her air "O mighty
Pens". She relishes her singing and her generous personality shone through each
Air. She was joined by a young Canadian Tenor, Pascal Charbonneau, who has a
very promising voice and again acted his roles with whole-hearted involvement.
"In rosy mantle appears" showed his voice at its best. He was joined by Michael
George, Baritone, whose reputation has spanned many venues and operatic and
oratorio, and whose voice was at its particular best when singing pianissimo,
with a lovely creaminess. All three excelled in the trios and duets, when the
balance of their voices blended most beautifully.
Watching the faces and hearing the comments at the end of the evening left one
in no doubt that this was a very special concert and one heartily enjoyed by the
music lovers of Eastbourne. Well done, to all concerned!
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