After Birmingham Bach Choir's Handel Samson at the end of last month, the Symphony Hall audience on Tuesday had the chance to enjoy another sublime oratorio derived from the writing of John Milton.
This time it was Haydn's Creation, an undoubted masterpiece in which a composer of immense stature in his own right pays touching tribute to two great role-models,
Handel and Mozart (what eloquent use of woodwind, with the CBSO players on superlative form) - and revels in the pictorial opportunities offered by an intelligent libretto clearly based on parts of Paradise Lost.
Its first two parts paint in graphic musical detail the sheer excitement of the drama and grandeur of creation.
Inspiration only sags in the final part, an extended love-in by Adam and a feminist-enraging Eve. Perhaps Haydn could foresee how Man, charged with care of the planet, would fail so miserably.
The veteran tenor-turned-conductor Peter Schreier presided over an exhilaratingly forthright yet tender account of the oratorio, with splendidly projected "period" playing from the CBSO and an amazing lightness of touch from the continually astounding CBS Chorus.
Clarity of diction from these huge numbers was mirrored in the delivery of a fabulous solo trio: radiant soprano Gillian Keith, supple tenor Mark Wilde, and Johannes Mannov, a bass of great distinction and authority. Chorus member Margaret Wilson was the efficient alto solo in the finale.
A pity the stylish continuo players (fortepianist Martin Perkins and cellist Ulrich Heinen) were not acknowledged in the otherwise excellent programme-booklet, a treasurable souvenir of a wonderful evening. The CBSO often accompanies other choral societies in oratorio. This, collaborating with its own chorus, was something very special.
Christopher Morley ..SUPL: