The wonderful strains of Haydn and Handel, England's most beloved adopted musical son, filled the sanctuary of the National Presbyterian Church Sunday night. The Chamber Soloists of Washington, directed by Edward Carroll, and organist William Neil served as the able, polished medium.
In the manner of the Mostly Mozart festival, there was a preconcert discussion followed by a performance of Haydn's Trumpet Concerto (1796) arranged for soloist and organ. Carroll and Neil offered a robust, colorful reading.
Haydn's lovely "London" Trio No. 3 in G, for violin, flute and cello, opened the formal concert. This is not passionate music, and the tightly knit performance remained spotless and breezy throughout. The "London" Symphony No. 104, in a version reduced for small chamber ensemble from Haydn's original scoring, proved rich and full of virtuosic playing. The famous minuet was especially sweet and graceful, revealing the group's gratifying musicality.
A whole hour's worth of Handel's "Water Music" (as opposed to the truncated six-movement suite usually programmed) afforded the audience a grand view of superior orchestral performance. Led by Carroll, the group paid marvelous attention to every nuance and subtlety and attacked the score with zest. Carefully maneuvered dynamics allowed for maximum expressive control and superb balance. The brass and winds, in exceptional form, simply could do no wrong.