Huddersfield Choral Society and Royal Northern Sinfonia
TITLE: Israel In Egypt – Handel
VENUE: Huddersfield Town Hall
REVIEW: David Heathcote
Handel's Israel In Egypt is a remarkable oratorio in which he ignites the story of the oppressed Israelites with musical brilliance.
Just as Haydn later achieved with The Creation, Handel uses his genius to create imagery of suffering, plagues, salvation – and the smiting of His enemies.
Dr Jane Glover was at her most powerful and expressive in this perfect performance from Huddersfield Choral Society and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, hand-crafting the music from the gentle appearance of the first hailstones to the onslaught of the mighty storm; from the almost comic appearance of the hopping frogs to the ferocious energy of numberless locusts and from the casting of the Pharaoh’s chariots into the sea to the suspension of time as they ‘sank to the bottom as a stone’.
Dr Glover mastered each contrasting mood and gave her all. The Choral and Sinfonia responded gloriously.
The Royal Northern Sinfonia’s maxim ‘to perform as if the ink was still wet on the page’ was absolutely evident, particularly under Dr Glover’s inspirational conducting. They were magnificent.
While every section excelled, the cellos and double basses shone as the locusts and the waters devoured their prey and the solo strings played beautifully in the alto and tenor duet.
Huddersfield Choral Society showed choral singing at its best. Given its huge numbers and considering Handel’s use of double chorus, their precision and unity was superb.
They enjoyed an impressive range of colours from the jumpy ‘manner of flies and lice’ through the atmospheric texture of ‘a thick darkness over all the land’ and the rousing choruses of war and triumph.