The Power of Handel · Oratorio Highlights

EUR 22,00
Oratorio Highlights
The Power of Handel

George Frideric Handel ~ Best of his glorious Oratorios:
Outstanding Extracts with Soloists, Choir & Orchestra from the Oratorios Jephtha, Samson, Judas Maccabaeus, Saul, Belshazzar, Solomon, Messiah & Joshua.
Performances in English according to the traditions of the time with the Maulbronn Chamber Choir and soloists such as Miriam Allan, Nancy Argenta, Catherine King, Sinéad Pratschke, Melinda Paulsen, Michael Chance, Mark Le Brocq, Charles Humphries, Christopher Purves, James Rutherford, Stephen Varcoe a.o.
Conductor: Jürgen Budday

Concert recordings from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery, 1998-2008

HD Recording · DDD · c. 82 Minutes (!)


Work(s) & Performance


hese live recordings are part of a cycle of oratorios and masses, performed in the basilica of Maulbronn Abbey under the direction of Jürgen Budday. The series combines authentically performed oratorios and masses with the optimal acoustics and atmosphere of this unique monastic church. This ideal location demands the transparency of playing and the interpretive unveiling of the rhetoric intimations of the composition, which is especially aided by the historically informed performance. The music is exclusively performed on reconstructed historical instruments, which are tuned to the pitch customary in the composer's lifetimes (these performances are tuned in a' = 415 Hz).


or more than ten years now, we have been documenting the concerts in the Maulbronn Monastery. Among the many wonderful recordings that we have in the meantime released in this series, the performances of the oratorios composed by the man born as Georg Friedrich Händel are a real treasure. To have produced the greatest works of a composer in performance, in the same space, with the unmistakable hallmark of the conductor and with more or less the same choir, soloists and orchestra is something that I find impossible to write about in retrospective at the moment, given the challenges that were involved and the simple fact that the end of this series is not yet in sight. May our future recordings be many and just as successfull.
What is the fascination of the oratorios? Old music - it often attracts the wrong sort of clichés. Terms like tension, power, drama and virtuosity are simply not used as synonyms for works of this genre. But it is precisely factors like these that have induced us to preserve the oratorios for posterity, and in all their authenticity - as concerts.
Georg Friedrich Händel knew how to bewitch an audience, how to make it tremble - then as now. It was no different even for Haydn. Let me illustrate this with an anecdote: the fall of Jericho in Act II of the oratorio "Joshua" inspired Händel to compose one of his most magnificent "thunder choruses", and this Haydn experienced in person at a grandiose performance in Westminster Abbey in 1791. It made a huge impression on him. Haydn was supposedly familiar with the music, yet only half aware of its effect until he actually got to hear it. In any case, Haydn was convinced that only a genius like Händel could ever have written such an outstanding composition or, indeed, anything like it at any point in the future ...
Back then, people still had time - there were no distractions like television, radio or the Internet to overwhelm them. And yet Haydn still had great difficulty appreciating the true greatness and power of an oratorio properly. This power, this drama is the idea, the underlying concept of our retrospective. To create a cross-section - an interim balance, if you will - that brings you closer to the world of Händel's oratorios and the world of old music. We couldn't get the thunder choruses of Jericho out of our minds. So, working with Jürgen Budday, we have put together the most moving of the choruses, arias and orchestral sections of the oratorios. The essence is a cross-section of the most beautiful and powerful moments from eight oratorios about the heroes and kings of the Old Testament: The Power of Händel.

Josef-Stefan Kindler, K&K Verlagsanstalt, anno 2008

George Frideric Handel


andel never set foot in Maulbronn - and basically speaking, his work has nothing to do with the world of medieval monasteries. And yet, for a good ten years now, this town in the old German state of Wuerttemberg that boasts the only completely preserved medieval monastery complex north of the Alps has played an important role in fostering Handel's oratorios. Now, thanks to live CD recordings, Handel aficionados from all over the world can be part of the Handel concerts at the Maulbronn Monastery, a UNESCO world cultural heritage site since 1994. Recordings of nine oratories are in the meantime available.
The concerts are conducted by Maulbronn church music director Jürgen Budday, instructor of music at the Evangelical Theology Seminar in Maulbronn and also responsible for church music at the Monastery church since 1978. Since that time, in addition to his official duties, Budday has also acted as artistic director of the Maulbronn Monastery Concerts, which came into being in 1968 and are the setting for the Handel concerts. These mostly take place in autumn, when the Monastery concert season is drawing to a close. The keystone of these concerts is the Maulbronn Chamber Choir, whose origins date back to 1983 and which now draws professional singers from all over Germany. Graduates of the Maulbronn Seminar make up the nucleus of this choir, which was originally formed for a concert tour of the United States. In the meantime, however, the choir and Jürgen Budday have given guest performances all over Europe and performed in the USA, Israel, South Africa and Namibia, as well as twice in Argentina.
The CDs of the Maulbronn Handel performances are recorded live and published by the K&K Verlagsanstalt, whose studios are based at Landau in the Palatinate. The company's Maulbronn Monastery Edition also includes highlights on CD of other Maulbronn Monastery concerts.
Editor Josef-Stefan Kindler immediately fell under the spell of the Maulbronn ambiance and was so convinced of its artistic potential that he developed the concept of the Maulbronn Monastery Edition. It was clear from the very start that the live recordings of the concerts in this collection would have to satisfy high artistic standards, since they were intended to be much, much more than mere souvenirs or records of events. The same applied to the performances of the Handel compositions. For Jürgen Budday, the important thing was historical authenticity in the actual performing of these works. He too wanted to put Maulbronn's fostering of Handel's legacy into a conceptual context and set up a cycle that was consistent in terms of content. So, contextually, all the Maulbronn productions are arranged in series such as "Biblical Heroes in Handel's Oratorios" or "Biblical Kings" or "Biblical Battle Commanders".
The series of live recordings for the Monastery Edition started with "Jephtha" in 1998. "Samson" followed in 1999. After a break of one year, it was the turn of "Judas Maccabaeus" in 2001, then came "Saul" in 2002, "Solomon" in 2003 and "Belshazzar" in 2004. The next two years were dedicated to the "Messiah" - the original composition was recorded in 2005, followed by the Mozart version in 2006, in keeping with "Mozart Year". 2007 saw the live recording of "Joshua".
All the Maulbronn recordings are the responsibility of sound engineer Andreas Grimminger of the K&K Verlagsanstalt, and technically the sound is simply exquisite. He places great value on bringing as much of the very special aura of these concerts as possible to the recordings and is highly successful in doing so. There is indeed a particular density to the mood of Handel concerts in this venerable monastery church - and although almost all of Handel's oratorios were composed with secular performance venues in mind, they have found a very suitable home in the Maulbronn Monastery church. It is therefore no coincidence that this is one of the things about the concerts at Maulbronn that even celebrity soloists hold in high regard. Countertenor Michael Chance, who has appeared in several concerts, made a point of telling Jürgen Budday that performing at Maulbronn was "a real highlight" on his calendar - and this is a calendar that includes concerts and operas at top venues. Right at the beginning of the series, Emma Kirkby, a world star on the old music scene, appeared at Maulbronn.
And besides Michael Chance, internationally sought-after soloists have come to Maulbronn and continue to do so. They include Nancy Argenta, Stephen Varcoe, Markus Schäfer and Marlies Petersen (shortly after her appearance at the Salzburg festival). But young singers with great promise also figure in the solo parts of Handel's oratorios here. The Emma Kirkby student, Miriam Allan, gave a truly world-class performance singing in "Joshua" - one that was not limited to her rendering of the famous air "Oh! had I Jubal's lyre?". And we will undoubtedly be hearing more of David Allsopp, the young countertenor who also appeared in "Joshua". The orchestra part has been in the hands of the Hanoverian Court Orchestra for some years now. This is an original sound ensemble of top-class musicians, who also love to come to Maulbronn. And, according to Jürgen Budday, the working relationship here is very productive.
The Handel CDs of the famous works offer an exciting alternative to recordings by the competition, and the Maulbronn versions are certainly able to hold their own here. Moreover, their value for the repertoire itself is anything but small. Take the case of "Joshua", for instance: to date, this is the only recording of the oratorio superior enough to compete with that recorded by Robert King and his "King's Concert". And the Maulbronn concert recording of the Mozart version of the "Messiah" on original instruments has also enriched the discography significantly. As yet - with the exception of the aforementioned Robert King and Peter Neumann with his Cologne Chamber Choir - no conductor and no choir have so consistently recorded so many Handel oratorios as Jürgen Budday and his Maulbronn Chamber Choir.

Dr. Karl Georg Berg, 2008,
Handel Memoranda, Händelhaus in Halle

Series & Edition


ublishing Authentic Classical Concerts entails for us capturing and recording outstanding performances and concerts for posterity. The performers, audience, opus and room enter into an intimate dialogue that in its form and expression, its atmosphere, is unique and unrepeatable. It is our aim, the philosophy of our house, to enable the listener to acutely experience every facet of this symbiosis, the intensity of the performance, so we record the concerts in direct 2-Track Stereo digital HD. The results are unparalleled interpretations of musical and literary works, simply - audiophile snapshots of permanent value. Flourishing culture, enthralling the audience and last but not least also you the listener, are the values we endeavor to document in our editions and series.

The concerts at the UNESCO World Heritage Maulbronn Monastery supply the ideal conditions for our aspirations. It is, above all, the atmosphere of the romantic, candle-lit arches, the magic of the monastery in its unadulterated sublime presence and tranquillity that impresses itself upon the performers and audience of these concerts. Renowned soloists and ensembles from the international arena repeatedly welcome the opportunity to appear here - enjoying the unparalleled acoustic and architectural beauty of this World Heritage Site, providing exquisite performances of secular and sacred music, documented by us in our Maulbronn Monastery Edition.

Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler, K&K Verlagsanstalt

Works, Movements & Tracklist

1. Why do the nations
Air from Messiah ~ CD II, No. 13
Christopher Purves (Bass)

2. Let us break their bonds as under
Chorus from Messiah ~ CD II, No. 14

3. He that dwelleth in heaven
Recitative from Messiah ~ CD II, No. 14
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor)

4. Thou shalt break them
Air from Messiah ~ CD II, No. 14
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor)

5. Hallelujah
Chorus from Messiah ~ CD II, No. 16

6. Glory to God
Air & "Thunderchoir" from Joshua ~ CD I, No. 27
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor) as Joshuah

7. Shall I in Mamre's fertile plain
Air from Joshua ~ CD II, No. 17
James Rutherford (Bass) as Caleb

8. For all these mercies we will sing
Chorus from Joshua ~ CD II, No. 18

9. Oh! had I Jubal's lyre
Air from Joshua ~ CD II, No. 25
Miriam Allan (Soprano) as Achsah

10. The great Jehovah is our awful theme
Chorus from Joshua ~ CD II, No. 29

11. Your harps and cymbals sound
Chorus of Priests from Solomon ~ CD I, No. 2

12. The arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Sinfonia from Solomon ~ CD II, No. 10

13. Music spread thy voice around
Air & Chorus from Solomon ~ CD II, No. 13
Michael Chance (Altus) as Solomon

14. Now a diff'rent measure try
Air from Solomon ~ CD II, No. 14
Michael Chance (Altus) as Solomon

15. Shake the dome
Chorus from Solomon ~ CD II, No. 14

16. Then at once from rage remove
Recitative from Solomon ~ CD II, No. 15
Michael Chance (Altus) as Solomon

17. Draw the tear from hopeless love
Chorus from Solomon ~ CD II, No. 15

18. Next the tortur'd soul release
Recitative from Solomon ~ CD II, No. 16
Michael Chance (Altus) as Solomon

19. Thus rolling surges rise
Air from Solomon ~ CD II, No. 16
Michael Chance (Altus) as Solomon

20. By slow degrees the wrath of God
Chorus of Jews from Belshazzar ~ CD I, No. 21

21. Where is the God of Judah's boasted pow'r
Recitative from Belshazzar ~ CD II, No. 3
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor) as Belshazzar

22. Help, help the king! Behold!
Recitative & Chorus from Belshazzar ~ CD II, No. 4
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor) as Belshazzar

23. Ye sages, welcome always to your king
Recitative from Belshazzar ~ CD II, No. 6
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor) as Belshazzar

24. Alas, too hard a task the king imposes
Chorus of Wise Men from Belshazzar ~ CD II, No. 6

25. Oh misery! Oh terror, hopeless grief!
Chorus of Babylonians from Belshazzar ~ CD II, No. 7

26. Tell it out among the heathen
Soli & Chorus from Belshazzar ~ CD II, No. 26
Miriam Allan (Soprano), Michael Chance (Altus), Mark Le Brocq (Tenor)

27. Already see, the daughters of the land
Recitative from Saul ~ CD I, No. 14
Nancy Argenta (Soprano) as Michal

28. Welcome mighty King
Chorus from Saul ~ CD I, No. 15

29. What do I hear
Accompagnato from Saul ~ CD I, No. 16
Stephen Varcoe (Bass) as Saul

30. David his Ten Thousands slew
Chorus from Saul ~ CD I, No. 16

31. First perish thou; and perish all the world
Recitative from Jephtha ~ CD II, No. 4
Melinda Paulsen (Mezzosoprano) as Storgé

32. Let other creatures die
Arioso from Jephtha ~ CD II, No. 5
Melinda Paulsen (Mezzosoprano) as Storgé

33. Awake the trumpet's lofty sound
Chorus from Samson ~ CD I, No. 2

34. Return, o God of Hosts
Air & Chorus from Samson ~ CD I, No. 14
Michael Chance (Altus) as Micah

35. Sion now her head shall raise
Duet from Judas Maccabaeus ~ CD I, No. 28
Sinéad Pratschke (Soprano), Catherine King (Mezzo-Soprano)

36. Tune your harps
Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus ~ CD I, No. 29

37. Sound an alarm - We hear the pleasing dreadful call
Air & Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus ~ CD II, No. 7
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor) as Judas Maccabeus

38. Sing unto God
Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus ~ CD II, No. 18
Charles Humphries (Altus) & Mark Le Brocq (Tenor)

39. Hallelujah! Amen
Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus ~ CD II, No. 25


***** A superb collection of excellent recordings

I recommend it!

A customer at Barnes & Noble



The German Magazine 'Neue Chorzeit'


Comments on YouTube

"Beautiful interpretation" (Gabriel Moinet)
"A fantastic work, so great and so independent form Bach. Handel and Bach equal giants of the baroque." (shnimmuc)
"Wonderful! Viele Danke." (Kat Morgan)
"Very Beautiful Voice" (Teddy Smith)


The German Magazine 'Neue Chorzeit'

Comments on YouTube

Review"Beautiful interpretation" (Gabriel Moinet)
"A fantastic work, so great and so independent form Bach. Handel and Bach equal giants of the baroque." (shnimmuc)
"Wonderful! Viele Danke." (Kat Morgan)
"Very Beautiful Voice" (Teddy Smith)

***** A superb collection of excellent recordings

ReviewA superb collection of excellent recordings.
I recommend it!
A customer at Barnes & Noble

User login

courtesy of