Christopher Purves

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Christopher Purves
Bass

Christopher Purves received vocal instruction from David Keren and Diane Forlano. He made his solo debut at the 1988 Aix-en-Provence Festival, appearing in a Mozart program with "The Sixteen" ensemble under the direction of Harry Christophers. He has appeared as soloist in numerous operas (including works by Mozart and Monteverdi) and major Handel oratorios. He has made an earlier appearance in Maulbronn in a production of Judas Maccabaeus. His concert engagements have taken him to major concert halls throughout the world in the company of such ensembles and conductors as The Sixteen, Philippe Herreweghe, Richard Hickox, the Gabrieli Consort Covent Garden, John Taverner and the Academy of Ancient Music.
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

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 PlayApple MusicAmazon MusicTidaliTunes MasteredFor...eClassical HDQobuz HDPresto Classical HDPrime Phonic 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

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