Michael Chance

Michael Chance

Michael Chance ~ Countertenor

Michael Chance's carrier began, as did so many of his colleagues, in King's College, Cambridge, as countertenor in England's conceivably most famous choir. Today he is one of the worlds most sought after countertenors, not only for opera - he sang, for example, the military governor in the world première of Judith Weir's "A Night at the Chinese Opera" - but also for oratorios and songs. He is a visiting professor at the Royal College of Music, London. He performs often in Paris, Amsterdam, Stuttgart and Berlin and has also been in America, Japan and Australia many times. Frieder Bernius, Frans Brüggen, John Eliot Gardiner and Trevor Pinnock are just some of the conductors that he works with regularly. A specialty of Michael Chance's is the song evenings he gives with the Gamben-Consort Fretwork, Nigel North and, more recently, Roger Vignoles, in which he sings pieces for voice and lute from the English Renaissance and also, frequently, works from contemporary, mostly English composers.
George Fr. Handel · BelshazzarGeorge Fr. Handel · Belshazzar
George Frideric Handel:
B E L S H A Z Z A R
The English Oratorio HWV 61,
performed according to the traditions of the time
by Miriam Allan (Soprano), Michael Chance (Countertenor),
Patrick van Goethem (Countertenor), Mark Le Brocq (Tenor),
André Morsch (Bass), Hanoverian Court Orchestra,
and the Maulbronn Chamber Choir.
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...Prime Phonic HDQobuz HDHD TracksReview

***** This is a great recording!

This performance is recorded live! And that's one of the reasons that it is so exciting to hear. Performers and conductor alike are really 'up' for a performance like this, and the listener is rewarded by this experience. No matter that a note here and there may not be perfect, it's really the overall 'high' that this type of rendition gives us. Of course, no need to worry that Maulbronn discs are inferior; just the opposite: excellent singers & instrumentalists and outstanding soloists prevail.
The English passion for the oratorio is largely due to Handel. Every year from 1738 to 1751, he produced at least one. Handel's oratorios, more dramatic than any previously written,were like operas without scenery and costumes. "Balshazzar" is one of a cycle of old testament oratorios by Handel. It is the story of the Babylonian king, Belshazzar, as presented in the biblical story from the book of Daniel. Belshazzar commits sacrilege against the God of the Israelites, upon which a ghostly hand inscribes the mysterious text,the Menetkel, upon the wall of the court,predicting the downfall of the kingdom and the death of Belshazzar at the hands of the Persians. The prophecy is fulfilled that very same night.
Instrumentally and chorally this is a great recording! The characters of Daniel (Michael Chance) and Belshazzar (Mark LeBrocq) are well sung and dramatically convincing as is Nitrocris (Miriam). Gobrias is OK and somewhat convincing at times, but has some difficulty producing well-rounded low tones. But the weakest character both dramatically and vocally is Cyrus (Patrick van Goethem) countertenor. His voice was breathy in the low register and brittle and somewhat off pitch in the upper register. However, I'm really hard on countertenors, so you may not agree! One of the most exciting and well performed parts occurs when the hand of God writes on the wall terrifying Belshazzar; Daniel, the prophet then appears and prophesies in a most frightening manner death and destruction and nobody could have done that better than Chance. RECORDINGS FROM MAULBRONN ARE NEVER DULL!

George Peabody (A voice teacher and early music fan) on Amazon

Review

***** One of The best of Handel's Works

This is a masterpiece to enjoy and pass the treasures of classical music to your children.

'JORALE95' on eMusic.com

Review

A splendid recording

Handel’s spectacular oratorio Belshazzar was composed in 1744, from a libretto by Charles Jennens that describes the fall of Babylon. Less successful in it’s day than the popular Italian opera, Belshazzar is a work on an imposing scale—dramatic, passionate, full of stirring choruses and solos, and a piece which Handel himself described as ‘very grand and uncommon’. The oratorio is full of invention, energy and drama with the Jewish, Babylonian Persian and Medes masses having their own distinctive musical styles that were juxtaposed to create a tense dramatic conflict. Composed in the same year as the splendid Hercules the two oratorios represent the peak of Handel’s dramatic writing. Belshazzar was a failure at the time of its first performance in 1745—contemporary reports speak of a disastrously bad performance—and the oratorio never gained popularity in Handel’s lifetime. Jürgen Budday is director of church music and artistic director of the concert series at the monastery of Maulbronn, of the cantor choir and of the Maulbronn Chamber Choir. He is one of the leading German conductors of historical and modern vocal music, and his previous concert recordings have received international acclaim, including thos of the Handel oratorios Jephtha, Samson, Judas Maccabaeus, Saul and Belshazzar may be one of Handel’s less performed works but is indisputably one of his finest, as is evident from this splendid recording in which the soloists include Mark Le Broque (Belshazzar), soprano Miriam Allan, countertenor Michael Chance and Patrick van Goethem.

new-classics.co.uk

Review

HI-RES AUDIO

Awarded by Qobuz with the HI-RES AUDIO

November 2013

George Fr. Handel · MessiahGeorge Fr. Handel · Messiah
George Frideric Handel:
M E S S I A H
The complete recording of the English Oratorio HWV 56,
performed according to the traditions of the time
by Miriam Allan (Soprano), Michael Chance (Countertenor),
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor), Christopher Purves (Bass),
Hanoverian Court Orchestra, Maulbronn Chamber Choir.
Conductor: Jürgen Budday.
A concert recording from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
HD Recording · DDD · Double Album · c. 140 Minutes
2 CD
EUR 33,00SpotifyDeezerGoogle PlayYouTube MusicApple MusicAmazon.com MusicNaxos Music LibraryTidalPrimephonicAmazon.comiTunes Apple Digital MasterQobuz HDPresto Classical HDeClassical HDReview

A rich Messiah of unusually strong Impact

They produced in the hands of conductor Jürgen Budday a rich Messiah of unusually strong impact... aided by fine live engineering in the impressive, sonically clear spaces of Germany's Maulbronn Monastery...
This live German recording of Messiah is based on a manuscript Handel marked up for a performance of the work in Dublin, adding a variety of new dynamic markings and ensemble indications. There's no reason to regard it as quite the definitive version of the work that it is proposed to be by the booklet here; it can equally well be considered an experiment on Handel's part in dealing with the new stylistic currents of his day. For listeners unfamiliar with it, this version carries quite a few surprises. Sampling merely the beginning of the "Hallelujah" chorus, CD 2, track 16, is enough to give the listener an idea of what he or she is getting into as the usually muscular entrance of the choir contracts to a quiet, angelic effect. The work becomes much more varied in texture and a good deal less monumental overall.
It would nevertheless be a shame if this recording were pigeonholed among the Dublin versions, for it has a good deal to offer any Messiah listener. Billed as an uncut, historically informed performance, this recording becomes, in the hands of conductor Jürgen Budday, a nice fusion of the immediate feel of the best historical performances (aided by fine live engineering in the impressive, sonically clear spaces of Germany's Maulbronn Monastery) with a rich, more conventional sound from a good-sized German choir, the Maulbronner Kammerchor.
Budday gives the soloists a chance to stretch out in the recitatives. Collectively the performers capture the different strands of Handel's experience - operatic, English Protestant, solo-oriented, and instrumental - that he brought to bear on this magnificent work, and they produce a rich Messiah of unusually strong impact. The live recording has a few flaws, but they are more than overcome by the edge thus generated. Notes are in German and English, the text is in English.

Review by James Manheim - All Music Guide, allmusic.com

Review

***** Absolutely the finest rendition

I am nearly 60 years old and have heard countless versions of Handel's "Messiah" since I was a boy. Recently I decided to purchase the best recording I could find for MP3 use. Wanting the version most faithful to Handel's baroque style, I easily eliminated most of the recordings I "auditioned" due to the overuse of orchestration, usually performed by unauthentic modern instruments. I also did not want to listen to any more wobbly warbling of soloists who seemed to be more intent on overpowering the listener than on communicating the divine message of the scripture text. Nor did I wish to hear any more sloppy choral performances that muddy the words because of the choir size and poor attack.
I had heard other recordings done with "authentic" or "antique" instruments, some of which are fine, but usually one or two of the soloists have left me disappointed. This version has satisfied every one of my wishes. Where have they been hiding? It is totally delightful, and I have no complaint. I can only hope that more persons will become aware of this recording and add their two bits of comments. If you are one of those persons who enjoys heavy vibrato and heavy orchestration, you might not appreciate this fine Baroque recording. But if you are tired of the same old..... then by all means, give it a try. It is refreshing!

'Monergistic Reader' on Amazon.com

Review

***** Superlative

I've heard many, many versions of "Messiah" in my short 27 years, and this is by far the best. One need only listen to the "Hallelujah Chorus" to appreciate this recording - it is at once intimate and majestic. The restraint that the choir demonstrates in the beginning is remarkable, considering that that chorus is normally an unwieldy, overwhelming, incomprehensible mess. It's not lacking for majesty and bombast, but it's there at appropriate places.

'Dweeb' on Amazon.com

Review

***** A clear, beautiful, authentic Messiah

An absolute gem of a Messiah. Definitely in the stream of the great "authentic" recordings of the work (like Christopher Hogwood's fantastic recording so many years before), this one makes the most of a small orchestra and chorus. The performances are all wonderfully beautiful, from the orchestra and the crystal-clear soloists to the all-male choir. There is an elegant restraint shown in this recording that sets it apart, even amongst some of its contemporaries in the authentic-arrangement camp; This is particularly notable in "Hallelujah". Don't confuse elegance and restraint for dull and boring, however. It is anything but that. This version transports the listener. The sound quality is pristine and, recorded live in concert in a large church, captures the wonderful resonance that atmosphere uniquely provides. This is a lesser-known Messiah that stacks up well against other, more noted performances.

Jacob A. Davis on Amazon.com

George Fr. Handel · SamsonGeorge Fr. Handel · Samson
George Frideric Handel:
S A M S O N
The English Oratorio HWV 57,
performed according to the traditions of the time
by Sinéad Pratschke (Soprano), Michael Chance (Countertenor),
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor), Raimund Nolte (Baritone),
David Thomas (Bass), Monastery Baroque Orchestra,
Maulbronn Chamber Choir (Maulbronner Kammerchor)
Conductor: Jürgen Budday
A concert recording from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
DDD · Double Album · c. 150 Minutes
2 CD
EUR 33,00SpotifyDeezerNapsterGoogle PlayApple MusicAmazon MusicTidaliTunesReview

An impressive oratorio

Samson, an impressive oratorio in three movements Georg F. Handel, is performed in a historical setting by Sinéad Pratschke, Michael Chance, Marc LeBrocq, Raimund Nolte, David Thomas, Maulbronner Kammerchor and Barockorchester der Klosterkonzerte. Juergen Budday conducts this double-CD box set concert recording made at the convent church in Maulbronn in 1999.

New Classics UK

Review

Highly recommended

...The sound in this monastery is excellent. This is a beautiful recording of one of Handel's finest oratorios, and is highly recommended.

Classical Music UK & The British Music Society

Review

***** I could not be happier with this superb recording

I have been listening to Jephtha and Samson quite extensively, and I must say that these two recordings are truly impressive. First, the cast of soloists is an absolutely superb assembly of historically-informed performers. It would be hard to find singers any better than Emma Kirkby, Steven Varcoe, Michael Chance. I found all of the performances by the soloists nearly impeccable.
Second, I suspected that the recordings themselves might be filled with ambient and background noises since these were the result of live performances.
I have been extremely pleased with the technical aspects of the recordings: they are 'clean' and clear with very little extraneous sounds. The engineering of these recordings is highly commendable!!
Finally, the orchestral playing by the Barockorchester der Klosterkonzerte and the participation of the Maulbronner Kammerchor are nearly flawless. The string playing is especially strong, and the choruses - filled with drama and emotion - are executed at the highest possible level. Even the pronunciation and intonation of the English is perfect.
In sum, I could not be happier with these two superb recordings. Already possessing several recorded versions of each of these masterful oratorios, I felt that it would be difficult to match the strength and quality of, for example, the performance under John Elliot Gardiner.
These two new additions by K&K Verlagsanstalt to the recorded Handel repertoire are magnificent models, exemplary of how to bring these monumental works to life for the modern audience. The crisp, clear recording, the excellent engineering, the incredible acoustics, the superb performances make these two of the best Handel compact discs I have purchased in a long time.
I should be most happy if you would keep my name on your mailing list, since I would like to be informed when your fine enterprise releases any more Baroque repertoire. These are performances to be treasured and are of the highest caliber of historically-informed practice.

Thomas R. McCallum (USA) on Amazon.com

George Fr. Handel · SaulGeorge Fr. Handel · Saul
George Frideric Handel:
S A U L
The English Oratorio HWV 53, performed according to the traditions of the time
by Nancy Argenta (Soprano), Laurie Reviol (Soprano),
Michael Chance (Countertenor), Mark Le Brocq (Tenor),
Michael Berner (Tenor), Stephen Varcoe (Bass), Steffen Balbach (Bass),
Hanoverian Court Orchestra (Hannoversche Hofkapelle),
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 33,00SpotifyDeezerNapsterGoogle PlayApple MusicAmazon MusicTidaliTunes MasteredFor...Qobuz HDeClassical HDPresto Classical HDHD TracksPrime Phonic HDReview

***** A superb listening treat

LIVE PERFORMANCE FROM MAULBRONN BRINGS 'SAUL' TO LIFE!
I have just finished listening to the oratorio 'SAUL' from Maulbronn conducted by Jurgen Budday. It leaves me breathless with it's high drama and excellent singing. The fact that this is a LIVE performance makes it all the more exciting to hear... This is a superb listening treat!

George Peabody 'Ariel' on Amazon.com
(A voice teacher and early music fan from Carlisle, Pa. USA)

Review

Spendidly performed

Georg Frideric Handel’s glorious oratorio in three movements, Saul, is splendidly performed here in English by Nancy Argenta, Laurie Reviol, Michael Chance, Mark LeBrocq, Michael Berner, Stephen Varcoe and Steffen Balbach, together with the Hannoversche Hofkapelle and Maulbronner Kammerchor, conducted by Juergen Budday. This atmospheric concert recording was made in 2002 in the historical setting of the beautiful convent church of Maulbronn. Other albums in the beautifully produced Maulbronn Edition from K & K include performances of Gounod’s Missa Solemnis (ISBN 3-930643-63-4) and an cappella concert, Goettliche Liturgie, with Don Kosaken singing works from the Russian Missa (ISBN 3-930643-72-3). For more informion, see the K&K website.

new-classics.co.uk

Review

***** Five Stars

Enjoyed it greatly

Sally Ann Mcallister on Amazon.com

George Fr. Handel · SolomonGeorge Fr. Handel · Solomon
George Frideric Handel:
S O L O M O N
The English Oratorio HWV 67,
performed according to the traditions of the time
by Nancy Argenta (Soprano), Laurie Reviol (Soprano),
Michael Chance (Countertenor), Julian Podger (Tenor),
Steffen Balbach (Bass), Hanoverian Court Orchestra
and Maulbronn Chamber Choir
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 33,00SpotifyDeezerNapsterGoogle PlayApple MusicNaxos Music LibraryAmazon MusicTidaliTunes MasteredFor...Qobuz HDeClassical HDHD TracksPresto Classical HDPrime Phonic HDReview

I assure you that all Oratorios from Maulbronn are first-rate

This CD is the first one that I heard from Maulbronn and I was stunned by the entire performance! It was exciting both vocally and instrumentally; I found it impossible to pause even for sustenance. Jurgen Budday has assembled a great lineup of soloists who projected their respective roles perfectly. For the most part the words of the chorus were understandable and created the proper dramatic tension. Michael Chance as Solomon displayed his usual skill in getting inside the role and the songs. The scene with the 2 harlots who were both claiming the same child was compellingly realistic. So many great songs by Handel on this disc I wouldn't want to have missed it! Since then I have purchased 4 more Oratorios from Maulbronn.
I assure you that they are all first-rate!

George Peabody 'Ariel' on Amazon.com - A voice teacher and early music fan from Carlisle, Pa. USA

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