The word “epic” has become a familiar adjective in popular vocabulary thanks to TV and radio advertisements for a certain price comparison website.
But its true meaning can be found in experiences like the one had at All Saints Church, Holbeach, where the South Holland Singers, accompanied by the Lincolnshire Chamber Orchestra, provided a night to remember with their interpretation of Joseph Haydn’s monstrous oratorio The Creation.
The history of the 18th century composition, an account of the Biblical story of how God created the universe in six days set to music, is that Haydn was inspired to write it during a visit to London where he heard Handel’s Messiah.
It isn’t too far-fetched to imagine that the South Holland Singers’ musical director Robin Carter, soprano Carrie-Ann Williams, tenor Leslie Crowson and bass Robert-John Edwards psyched themselves up by listening to Messiah as well.
But it was the singers themselves, supposedly amateur compared to their more professional counterparts, who really brought Haydn’s great work to life with their passion, conviction and vibrance.
With a fully fledged orchestra in support, Haydn’s Creation took on a whole new magnificence of its own.
During the interval, Robin said: “From a conductor’s point of view, Haydn’s Creation is one of the most complicated pieces I’ve ever had to perform.
“There are so many changes of tempo, stops and pauses in it, whereas with Handel’s Messiah you can get going and keep going.
“The choir and I had been rehearsing The Creation since the beginning of January and I spent considerable hours studying the hours.
“All Saints Church, Holbeach, was a lovely acoustic setting to be in, there was such a friendly atmosphere in the church and we felt very happy here.”
Carrie-Ann, originally from Cheshire before graduating in vocal and operatic studies from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2013, said: “I found The Creation much more challenging than other oratorios I’ve done, but it also gave me the opportunity to do a lot more individual arias, really pull it about and make it my own, whilst keeping to the context of it at the same time.
“In opera, you have to convey a character or story while with an oratorio you’re telling a story and with The Creation, I had to really take it apart and go through it little by little which was very hard to do.
“The South Holland Singers were amazing and working with them and the Lincolnshire Chamber Orchestra has taken me on so much.”
Music Review by Winston Brown