REVIEW: Crouch End Festival Chorus, Haydn s Creation, Barbican

For all that it sounds like something from a Monty Python sketch, the Crouch End Festival Chorus is the most accomplished of the large-scale outer London choirs and flourishing at the moment

Review: Crouch End Festival Chorus,

Haydn's Creation, Barbican

For all that it sounds like something from a Monty Python sketch, the Crouch End Festival Chorus is the most accomplished of the large-scale outer London choirs and flourishing at the moment as never before.

If you watched the operatically slow demise of David Tennant's Dr Who at New Year, you'll have heard the CEFC providing vocal accompaniment to his death throes (it does a lot of TV background work these days).


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More significantly, it features later this year at the opening night of the Proms (you read it here first).

This Barbican performance of Haydn's Creation was a joy - alive with motivated energy and the balanced strength that not so many amateur choruses achieve.

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Too often, what you hear is like a boiled sweet with a chewy centre: decently crisp definition from the sopranos and basses at the outer edge but murky vagueness from the altos and (especially) tenors in the middle.

With the CEFC, however, you get definition from the inner parts as well. And it comes with commitment. No coasting. No attention lapses. It's all there - dynamically marshalled by the choir's conductor David Temple and, on this occasion, enhanced by three fine soloists.

I wasn't so sure about the stylistic credentials of the accompanying London Orchestra da Camera or about the un-inspirational visual aids projected above the performers heads as they sang.

But the CEFC is an innovative, ambitious choir and I wouldn't want to discourage it from multi-media experiments. It's just that it needs better tech advice before trying that one again.

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