The BBC Singers and conductor David Hill join with one of the world´s oldest continuously running orchestras, The Norwegian Wind Ensemble (NWE), to present this major new arrangement of George Frideric Handel’s most celebrated oratorio – Messiah HWV 56. Arranged for wind ensemble by NWE member Stian Aareskjold, this version here receives its world premiere recording with a stellar cast of soloists who bring this visionary re-scoring of this famous work vividly to life.
There are two English Davises, both conductors: Colin and Andrew–no relation. Colin recorded a landmark Messiah which is still available on Philips at budget price. This one is another matter entirely. Andrew Davis certainly knows this music, and he hits the big moments with gusto. But Messiah is more than big moments, and despite an excellent cast of soloists, there's too little involvement with the music (especially from Kathleen Battle) in the arias and more intimate moments to make this a clear recommendation. It's not bad, but the competition is just that much better. –David Hurwitz
Barthold Heinrich Brockes’ text for the passion oratorio, later named after him, is among the best-known Passion librettos of the early 18th century. This version is the first recording on CD of the work based on the copy made by J S Bach himself. It is distinguished from the better-known version by a different text for the opening chorus.
Peter Neumann strikes a powerful blow for some reassessment of Handel's version. He is assisted above all by Markus Brutscher's Evangelist which has urgency, cogency and clarity in equal measure. Markus Flaig's Jesus is also effective as is the relatively modest contribution by the Cologne Chamber Choir. (BBC Music Magazine)
The award-winning Early Opera Company under the direction of founder Christian Curnyn celebrates the 300th anniversary of the premiere of one of Handel’s most sublime creations: Acis and Galatea.
This unique interpretation is performed as Handel himself specified in the manuscript: supported by fourteen period instruments, the outstanding cast of singers takes on the solo parts as well as the magnificent choruses. This is Handel writing at his highest levels of intimacy and intensity; the music superbly supports the libretto's evocative portrayal of the story, simultaneously restrained, economical, and deeply moving.
Of all English oratorios Handel’s Messiah has always been the most overwhelmingly popular. It is the least theatrical of his oratorios and the most purely sacred in its choice of subject matter. The vivid choral writing- there are more choruses in Messiah than in any other Handel oratorio- coupled with the expressive density of the solo arias, have ensured its status as one of the greatest choral masterpieces in the Western canon. Since winning the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Award and conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, Edward Polochick has attracted international attention as an orchestral, operatic, and choral conductor. He is the founding Artistic Director of Concert Artists of Baltimore since 1987. He is also in his 20th season as Music Director of Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. From 1979-1999 he was the Director of the Baltimore Symphony Chorus, and since 1979 he has been at the Peaboedy Conservatory as Associate Conductor of the Orchestra, Director of Choral Ensembles, and Opera Conductor.
Serse has been one of my favorite Handel operas since I first heard the old Priestman LP on Westminster (Maureen Forrester in the title role, Lucia Popp as Romilda). Despite its frequent raggedness and "harpsichord on speed" continuo, this was a thoroughly dramatic and engaging performance. I've waited for decades for a new Serse which could benefit from the new performance standards we take for granted in baroque opera today. I was strongly disposed to like this disc, since although I've found McGegan a bit uneven in the past, his more recent Handel efforts, particularly Radamisto, have been superb. I can't fault the singers or orchestra in this performance, but the dramatic spark that makes Serse so special seems to me to be missing. I went back and compared my old Priestman recording and was even more convinced that the definitive Serse is yet to come. It's surprising there haven't been more recordings, since this work has a lot of potential appeal, and is one of Handel's most accomplished pieces. Maybe I'm just too picky, but I'd love to see someone reissue the Priestman on CD– and while they are at it, his equally engaging Rodelinda (fortunately, there is better competition for the latter).
Wigmore Hall Live kicks off New Year with an early music release. Handel s Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno was the composer s first opera to feature the celebrated aria Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa (Avoid the thorn, pluck the rose). Recorded for Wigmore Hall Live in January 2010 by the Early Opera Company, one of Britain s leading early music ensembles, the group features contralto Hilary Summers in the traditional countertenor role of enlightenment, her voice specifically chosen for its depth and fullness of tone. Director and harpsichordist, Christian Curnyn, was determined to recreate as faithful a sound as possible to what audiences at the time would have heard, not only instrumentally but notably in relation to tempi: Everything in Handel comes back to the heartbeat rate, fifty per minute. Recently people have tended to go either very fast or make things very dragged out, but in my view that spoils it. Baroque music is all based on dance, which means a natural rhythm. Of course you should push the boundaries, but it should feel as though you re pushing against a natural membrane. There s an inner pulse in Handel which you can t ignore.
Weltersteinspielung einer unbekannten Händel-Oper. Bei ANIMATO erscheint nun als Weltersteinspielung Händels selten gespielte Oper ORESTE, das den bekannten Iphigenie-Stoff vertont. Gezielt setzt das Ludwigsburger Label auf ein junges Instrumental-Ensemble unter der Leitung von Tobias Horn, der Besigheimer Bezirkskantor, Dirigent der Kantorei der Karlshöhe Ludwigsburg und international tätiger Konzertorganist ist. Seine Sänger besetzt er mit jungen Ensemblemitgliedern u.a. der Stuttgarter Staatsoper und des Opernstudios des Staatstheaters Stuttgart. Zum Beispiel die aufstrebende Mezzo-Sopranistin Cornelia Lanz, die jüngst in der Stuttgarter Fledermaus-Premiere zu erleben war, und hier auf berückende Weise die Titelpartie des Oreste singt. Der Bariton Kai Preußker gestaltet sehr beeindruckend den bösen König Toante.
"Mezzo Cornelia Lanz is outstanding in the title-role. "(…) the purely musical values are what." "Conductor Tobias Horn is no doubt responsible for the freshness of the playing." Matter most and those could hardly be more impressive. "–Gramophone
…Against the competition, this new German recording rates very high. It is certainly superior to Harnoncourt's heavily cut and somewhat mannered Teldec reissue.