Creakes’ Student Chorus Baroque Sinfonia

MICHAEL DRAKE St Mary’s Church, South Creake


Have you ever pondered that there are few small double bass players?

Perhaps not, but that was the raison d'être for the first students' course some 10 years ago at Creake – the inspiration of professional bass player Rodney Slatford, so concerned that he “invented” smaller double basses for children.

Known singers and instrumentalists from all over Europe attend courses lasting from a week to a month, and last evening the church was crowded as, with the famous roof angels, they listened first to current students' keen- edged performance of Vivaldi's Gloria.

How could it have been an “also ran” for so many years?

The cold weather does not look kindly on baroque instrument tuning, but their sound made so much difference to the programme's works compared to the modern.

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The Four Seasons took their allotted places, with a spirited Spring, stately Summer, measured Autumn and a sharp Winter as conductor Darren Hargan paid great attention to the musical stresses and colours of each.

The fresh, young voices in chorus and solos in the same composer's Magnificat were, for the most part, well balanced and dynamic in their singing (though personally I am never convinced by mixing contraltos and counter-tenors), finishing with a beautifully warm and rounded Gloria.

Alessandro Scarlatti's Dixit Dominus gave scope for extremely lively and spontan-eous work from the various soloists, the full chorus and orchestra – the latter having been complementary and sympathetic in its accom-paniment.

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