The magnificent Christopher Purves performs a recital of Handel’s bass arias. This unique collection demonstrates the range and brilliance of Handel’s writing for this voice, featuring a selection from Italian and English operas, English classical drama, Biblical oratorios, literary odes and a masque. Handel’s endlessly imaginative gift for characterization is fully explored here, with Purves commanding an extraordinary emotional and technical range from the buffo blustering of Polyphemus in Acis and Gatalea to the loving musings of Abinoam in ‘Tears, such as tender fathers shed’ from the oratorio Deborah.
Brilliant Classics continues its famous Composer Edition series with one of the giants of the Baroque, George Frideric Handel, the celebrated German who settled in London. Having absorbed the German and Italian styles of his time he formed his own distinctive musical language, which, while following the current fashions and audience preferences, retained his own deep humanity and inner power.
It’s an achievement when an artist can take a well-known work and interpret it freshly as if heard for the first time. This Marc Minkowski does with Handel’s Water Music by daring to challenge convention and expectation. Firstly Minkowski chooses to ignore modern musicology, which considers the work a continuous piece or a sequence of movements first in F major or D minor, then a mix of movements in D major and G major. Minkowski follows the earlier performance practice of presenting the Water Music as three suites, respectively grounded in F, G and D major which used to be called the Horn, Flute and Trumpet suites, designating the notable solo instruments. Minkowski also includes the two variant movements in F, HWV331, which are now thought to be a revision by Handel to create a freestanding concerto.
Five years after the initial release of Handel's Water Music and Fireworks suites in the groundbreaking version from Le Concert Spirituel, Glossa are now issuing the original surround master in a newly-designed digipack edition.
Handel's first Oratorio. Esther has a simple story plot. Very, very simple. Jewish folk are real excited because their Queen Esther has been made queen to the Persian king, Ahasuerus. No sooner than they are married, the king's high priest proclaims that all Jews must be put to death. The first few scenes go back and forth between Jewish and Persian camps declaring destruction of the other team. Finally Esther goes to see her husband. Overcome with her beauty, he tells her that the decree wasn't meant to include her. She tells husband that destroying her people is to destroy her. Husband sees the error of his ways, and drags the high priest in for an accounting of ways. He apologizes profusely, but Esther sees through his alligator tears, he's executed, and everyone stands around singing praises to Jehovah God. The end. In Seven scenes, the whole oratorio clocks in at 1 hour and 37 minutes flat.
"From 'Greensleeves' to 'Jupiter', this selection of music in celebration of England's green and pleasant land will evoke fond memories of summer holidays, end-of-term assemblies and listening to the wireless, a time of pride in our country and its heritage."
"…De Niese is discreet in her ornamentation of the da capo arias; in the laments, she is particularly sensitive, avoiding inappropriate vocal displays out of character with the grief expressed in the music. William Christie conducts Les Arts Florissants in a bravura performance that's both crisp and nuanced. Decca's sound is deep, warm, and clean. De Niese's spectacular recital should be of interest to fans of Baroque opera, and of intelligent, emotionally honest coloratura singing." ~AMG
Recorded in 1966, Robert Shaw's Grammy Award-winning performance of Handel's Messiah marks an important turning-point in this work's interpretation, clearly moving away from the ponderous, overly reverential style of early twentieth century renditions and pointing toward the leaner versions of the 1970s onwards, which follow Baroque-period practices. (…) Evenly divided between two discs, this recording of Messiah is complete, and it is preferred over RCA's 1992 excerpt album The Great Choruses from Messiah.