Preshow entertainment for A Celebration of Life on Earth came in the form of the robotic AirPenguin that has been gracing several shows at See Further Festival: The Festival of Science + Arts.
With England going into half time trailing 2-1 mobiles were nervously switched off as the performance began. Russell Foster FRS introduced the show as collaboration between scientists over the country, schools and the Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment looking how scientists and musicians view the world.
The orchestra began with a musical metaphor of the human body, “Double bass – the heart of the orchestra” and conductor Scott Stroman representing the brain. The orchestra was augmented by four choirs, who lent their presence well to Haydn’s The Creation with the audience coming in powerfully for the final line “and there was light”.
Along with the orchestra, the story was narrated by Russell Foster FRS and music animateur Mark Withers, explaining the different sounds Haydn used to represent different birds that appeared in Haydn’s work from the lark to the dove to the nightingale. Finally, to wrap up the show Russell Foster FRS talked about his scientific work studying the body clock or the part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. He got the audience to say this tongue twisting phrase all together and pass it along as Chinese whispers, illustrating the different musical techniques Haydn used to thank God at the end of his masterpiece. At the end of the show the orchestra and choirs took their bows to rapturous applause.