University Philharmonia and Choir

Over fifty instrumentalists and almost one hundred singers from the university combined on Saturday night to perform what is often referred to as Haydn’s ‘masterpiece’, The Creation in the Albert Hall.


Before the concert, I had been considering how harsh one should be when critiquing the University Philharmonia Orchestra and choir?

I only ask this because I wondered whether it should be taken into consideration that these performers are not expert, paid or life devoted musicians?  Previously I had decided that yes, I should give them some credit; they’re only busy students just like you and I after all.

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University Philharmonia and Choir performed Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation

However an hour into the performance, I felt no need for any critical compassion. In fact, the audience had no reason to believe that the members of the University of Nottingham’s Philharmonia and choir were not professionals.

At exactly 7.30pm, the orchestra and choir were seated and on walked the conductor (Jonathon Tilbrook) and three guest singers, Anna Dennis (soprano), James Oxley (tenor) and David Soar (baritone) to much applause.

The opening of the oratorio was thrilling as the impressive chord from the orchestra on the line ‘let there be light’ reverberated around the venue.  Whilst the first two acts were performed over an hour and a half there were no signs of weariness from the audience and players. How could there have been as Dennis was exhibited her impressive register through fast paced scales and arpeggios?

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The recital was a triumph

The third act was the highlight: all three soloists, the orchestra and the choir all performed together and the grand music echoed off the vast curved ceiling of the Albert Hall. Likewise, the flute and clarinet solos stood out as their soft tones rose above the rest of the orchestra.

The recital was a triumph and the audience’s response was appropriately enthusiastic as the applause continued providing time for two encores.

Look out for our review of Univeristy Sinfonia after their performance on Sunday. Details here for tickets