THE large and appreciative audience for the Ambleside and District Choral Society’s spring concert under the baton of Jolyon Dodgson were treated to a glowing performance of Haydn’s perennially popular oratorio, The Creation, writes TONY CHAMPION. The excellent soloists (soprano, Tracie Penwarden, tenor, Robert Thompson and bass, Ashley Kirkham), the choir and the South Cumbria Ensemble, led by Mark Wilson, all revelled in the rich colours of Haydn’s score. The ensemble was the bedrock of this performance, giving an intense account of The Representation of Chaos, which begins the work. Particular mention should be made of the wind players, who responded delightfully throughout to Haydn’s rapturous (and often humorous) evocations of all the wonders of creation.

The Creation abounds in solo arias and awestruck recitatives, and the soloists took full advantage of their opportunities offered by their roles as the angels Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael and, in the final part, Adam and Eve (soprano and bass). The choir responded wholeheartedly to Jolyon Dodgson’s energetic direction, relishing the famous choral set pieces, notably The Heavens are telling and Achieved is the Glorious Work. Just occasionally the players were in danger of overwhelming the choir, but the blend between the various forces was generally excellent. At the close of a very enjoyable evening, we left wondering afresh at the sheer quality and variety of Haydn’s invention.