The creationists who have been arguing lately with such fervor against the evolutionists could take heart from Saturday's concert at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, for if there ever was a convincing presentation for the seven days of creation, Haydn and the Choral Arts Society made it.
In "The Creation," Haydn documented the appearances on Earth of everything from worms to whales with a graphic literalness that works splendidly as long as chorus, orchestra and soloists are up to it. For this performance, conductor Norman Scribner chose a fine trio of soloists and had his chorus honed to chamber-ensemble clarity. The orchestra was in equally elegant form.
The decision to perform the piece in English was a good one. German, so often the choice of purists, may have its marvelously dramatic moments (the German for "despairing cursing rage" is far more frightening than the English). But the German is, after all, a translation from the original English. It was nice to have the orchestral tweets and rumbles so immediately interpreted as doves and tigers, and to have cows appear with the bucolic music.
Soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson was in good voice but did not have all her accustomed control. She is an unusually versatile singer, but this may not be her best idiom. Tenor Gene Tucker and bass Donnie Ray Albert handled their assignments with distinction, and the three, in ensemble, were nicely balanced.
The chorus was at its best. It always sings with accuracy and sensitivity and, in this instance, sang with flexibility and intensity as well.