Music good 88.
(photo credit: )
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Haydn: The Creation
The first part of Haydn's Creation, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, was graciously given to Jerusalemites by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as part of its matinee series. The mouthwatering performance caused anticipation to hear the work's following parts - which have been played in Tel Aviv.
The performance's hero was the Gaechinger Kantorei choir. What a group! Though not particularly small, its intonation sounded impeccably pure and cohesive, as though only a single person were singing - but with a richness of sound that only a large choir can produce. The voices seemed to have been handpicked for sheer vocal beauty. The choir's articulation of phrases was razor-blade incisive, and lucid transparency reigned even in the most intricate fugal passages. Pronunciation was such as to let one understand every single syllable and word. The singers' intense involvement with the text's spirit was fabulous.
After the almost-whispered Chaos, the contrasting "And there was light" shone in all its luminous glory.
Klara Ek's crystalline, bright soprano, soft and caressing even on the highest notes, admirably captured the angelic quality of her role. The radiant tenor of Lothar Odinius impressively described the sun running its course. Nathan Berg's sonorous dark-timbred baritone appealingly switched over from the tempestuous storms to the delicately falling soft snow.
Responding sensitively to the indications of Rilling's baton, the orchestra gave its very best.
And then, when one had just become expectant of the work's continuation, it was suddenly all over. What a pity!
And, if an autobiographical note may be permitted in this context, it brought back memories, as this was the very first work that this reviewer ever heard in a live concert, at the ripe age of eight, in a provincial German town.