from the Reading Chronicle, November 2002
WOKINGHAM Choral Society's performance of Haydn's famous oratorio was one of the finest things I have heard them sing. Their new conductor Aidan Oliver kept the Sinfonia Britannica, his soloists Claire Booth (Soprano), Matthew Beale (Tenor) and Robert Rice (Bass) and the Chorus under strict yet sympathetic control, never allowing the vocalists to be overpowered.
Haydn's music aptly complemented the text, conjuring up lyrical pictures throughout the piece whether of flowers in the field as the soprano sang. With verdue clad, the creation of the animals in the bass recitative. Let the earth bring forth creatures (who could miss the humour in the passage relating to the heavy beasts) or the stark message in the tenor's final recitative O happy pair.
My congratulations, too, on the clarity of diction displayed by everyone, soloists and chorus alike. The choruses Awake the harp and The heavens are telling the glory of God were particularly outstanding, as was the final chorus where soloists and chorus joined together to being the evening to a close.