It is hard to think that any of music's famous scores in which nature is portrayed can even come near, much less equal many pages in Haydn's "The Creation."
Yesterday afternoon these details, many of them as richly colored as the most exotic Rousseau oil, were among the highlights of the oratorio as it was sung by the Cathedral Choral Society under Paul Callaway's conducting, in Washington Cathedral. With members of the National symphony Orchestra, and soloists Judith Raskin, Leo Goeke, and Ara Berberian, the great score came out full of inimitable vigor and beauty.
Haydn's genuis for instrumental color kept leaping out, whether in eloquent passage for violas, cellos, and double basses, or in the solo lines for flute and clarinet, or the double bassoon, matching bass Berberian in speaking of the deep, or, "with sinuous trace, the worm."
The performance was fluent in pace, with the chorus in alert, easy form'
With a score in hand, it was easy to follow Haydn in the cathedral. The solo passages, unobtrusively amplified, came out clearly. If you put the score down, some of the more agile lines disappeared in the lovely distances. It was a good day for Haydn.