Catherine King

Catherine King
Mezzo-Soprano

The English mezzo-soprano, Catherine King, began her vocal studies as a choral scholar at Trinity College Cambridge followed by a period at the Guildhall in London, and later study with Josephine Veasey. Catherine King regularly performs music covering a vast period from the present day back to the 11th century, and in many languages (often with period pronunciation). She has performed with many of the UK's leading ensembles and orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Taverner Consort, Northern Sinfonia, the Nash Ensemble, the Gabrieli Consort and Players, Gothic Voices, London Baroque, Fretwork, Singcircle, the New London Consort, Florilegium and The Academy of Ancient Music. She also makes regular appearances in Brirish and European festivals, including at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester, Edinburgh International Festival, the Lufthansa Festival at St John's Smith Square and the Bruges Early Music Festival, Belgium. Recent appearances (2001) include Prague, Hamburg, Paris, the USA, live BBC broadcasts from the Wigmore Hall and St John's, Smith Square. Well known as a versatile early music specialist, Catherine King's duo with lutenist Jacob Heringman and the group Virelai seek to bring life to long forgotten music, performing it with a freshness which belies the years since its writing. Catherine King frequently performs from the full range of great oratorios throughout the country. As well as works by Händel, Bach and Mozart, she has sung larger scale pieces such as Elgar's Music Makers and Verdi's Requiem. She has recently performed and recorded Händel's Judas Maccabaeus in Germany, Bach arias in Oslo and Lyon, given several performances of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius in Britain, and a series of lute song recitals in the USA. She has also recorded and premiered songs written for her by a number of composers, most recently at the Spitalfields Festival in London with a commission by Andrew Keeling. Opera performances include Mercedes (Carmen) and Diane (Rameau Hippolyte et Aricie), the latter under William Christie. In December 2002 performerd Messiah with Robert King and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra in Norway. Contemporary performances include new works in London Spitalfields Festival with Sing Circle, Tippett's Crown of The Year with the Nash Ensemble, as well as premieres of specially commissioned songs performed in the USA , and on radio and CD. Recordings include recitals for Radio Three and on CD with her duo partner lutenist Jacob Heringman, pianist Wayne Marshall, and with leading early music ensembles, including GothicVoices, Fretwork, London Baroque, the New London Consort, the Consort of Musicke and the Taverner Consort. The many CDs she has released during the past five years include the award winning 'Airs de cour' CD for Linn Records, lute songs by Mudarra and Milán (ASV), 20th century songs by Barber and a recording of music by Hildegard of Bingen and Jean Catoire (Virgin Classics). Recent recording project have included Bach Mezzo Arias, for Linn Records, and a disc of songs by Verdelot to coincide with concerts at the Wigmore Hall, London.
G. Fr. Handel · Judas MaccabaeusG. Fr. Handel · Judas Maccabaeus
George Frideric Handel
JUDAS MACCABAEUS
The English Oratorio HWV 63, performed according to the traditions of the time
by Sinéad Pratschke (Soprano), Catherine King (Mezzo-Soprano),
Charles Humphries (Countertenor), Mark Le Brocq (Tenor),
Christopher Purves (Bass), Musica Florea Prague,
and the Maulbronn Chamber Choir (Maulbronner Kammerchor)
Conductor: Jürgen Budday
A concert recording from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
HD Recording · DDD · Double Album · c. 150 Minutes
2 CD
EUR 33,00SpotifyDeezerNapsterApple MusicAmazon MusicTidaliTunes MasteredFor...Qobuz HDeClassicalPresto Classical HDReview

This is a drum beat...

The technical sounding, outstandingly successful recording supplies the discography of the work with an interesting and worth listening to variant on the recordings by Harnoncourt, Gardiner, Marriner and Creed...

Dr. Karl-Georg Berg, DIE RHEINPFALZ

Review

Oratorio in three movements, performed in a historical setting

G.F.Handel's oratorio in three movements, Judas Maccabaeus, is performed in English in a historical setting by Sinéad Pratschke, Catherine King, Charles Humphries, Mark LeBrocq, Christopher Purves, Maulbronner Kammerchor and Musica Florea Prag. Juergen Budday conducts this concert recording from the convent church in Maulbronn.

New Classics UK

Review

Excellent recording

This is an excellent recording of one of Handel's best and most popular oratorios, and is highly recommended...

Classical Music UK & The British Music Society

Review

A surprising, wonderful, buoyant HIP Judas Maccabaeus with an outstanding Sound

I actually received this recording by mistake, but this live performance of Handel's oratorio is absolutely excellent, a refreshing joy to listen to and to return to. For a long time my favorite Maccabaeus has been the Mackerras version on Archiv, with Janet Baker. This recording, conducted by Jurgen Budday, is an Historically Informed Performance, which means they used original instruments and techniques (less string vibrato, smaller orchestra sections with more transparent sound, men using falsetto in place of women in some parts, for example). I will compare the merits of these two. This Budday HIP performance has gotten under my skin for several reasons: the conducting is exciting and very tasteful; the DDD sound is outstanding; the soloists are excellent, fresh, and stylistically intelligent; the HIP orchestra is tight and accompanies the singing deftly! I had never even heard of Jurgen Budday before.
Mackerras is excellent too, so I am not abandoning that recording any time soon; that recording is ADD, on modern instruments, and not all the soloists sound as fresh or as idiomatic as they do on this Budday recording - which really opened my ears.
To begin with Budday's tempi are buoyant - not simply fast, but well sprung. There is an energy which I think comes in part from it being a live performance. Budday's performance is about 20 minutes shorter than Mackerras' and is thus on 2 disks instead of 3. Mackerras is also a lively conductor and knows his way around Handel; in many ways his performance is a revelation, he is very sensitive in the solo accompaniment, and there is never any feeling of dragging. It must be said that both conductors have put themselves at the service of this music - individual personalities do not emerge to over-interpret Handel's musical and dramatic intentions. The music is allowed to speak for itself in both recordings, and the big moments ("See the Conqu'ring Hero", for example) are given their full due, making great impact (and an interesting contrast) in either scale.
The digital sound on the Budday CDs is excellent, catching the details of the soloists, choir, and orchestra as if it were a studio recording, but with the added atmosphere of a live hall - it sounds absolutely great in my listening room (using Yamaha 200W amp, ADS 9 speakers, and Denon CD player equipment). The Mackerras recording has great studio sound which I would characterize as detailed and full, but less atmospheric since it's ADD and not live. It also sounds a little "closer", which is an artifact of being a studio recording.
Budday's soloists are all excellent and have beautiful voices! They all sound young, fresh, and in particular they sound as if they all live with this kind of music. They sing gloriously - bright and strong in the ensembles, tender and quite moving in solos and duets. The choir (Maulbronner Chamber Choir) is less massive than modern performances tend to use - and thus more detailed and clear, and in some places men use falsetto in place of women in some alto solos, to haunting effect. Mackerras' soloists are all great singers, some of whom are opera stars and others whom are known for HIP careers. Janet Baker in particular is simply captivating, and her duets with Felicity Palmer are quite moving. The Wandsworth School Choir, boys, sounds larger and fuller, thus less detailed and clear by comparison. I know some people feel boys choirs sound too homogeneous, but I think it works well here.
Budday's orchestra (Musica Florea Prag) uses original instruments and HIP techniques and they sound wonderful, you hear everything. The string sound is warm (early HIP performances could sound "dry" to modern ears). The playing is technically excellent, crisp, often breathtaking, and always very sensitive. Mackerras' orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, is closer to a modern symphony orchestra. They sound full and warm, with a richness that many listeners have become accustomed to, but they are also crisp and totally inside this music.
What to do, what to do? If you're looking for an accurate rendering of this music that is close to what Handel's audience heard, than this Budday recording is the one. If you're a Janet Baker fan (like I am), then Mackerras will be for you. If you prefer digital sound, then Budday is the way to go (although both sound great). If you like to hear the intricate details in the orchestra and chorus, well, then Budday is for you.
For me, I'll tell ya, I am glad I have both now. I simply cannot make up my mind and I love them both!

R. Nadel 'Opinion Above Knowledge!' (Boulder, CO, USA) on Amazon.com

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