A "Must Have"
A concert experience full of thrilling intensity ... This great-sounding concert recording is necessarily preferable to a studio production. A "must have" for all Handel lovers...
A superb live recording of one of the greatest works from the Baroque era
George Frideric Handel's choral oratorio, Israel in Egypt, was the fifth of the nineteen oratorios which he composed in England. It has a libretto compiled from selected passages in the Hebrew Bible, mainly Exodus and the Psalms, and premiered at London’s King’s Theatre in 1739. It was not well received by audiences, though later in the season Handel revived it for three additional performances, with the first third of the work removed and several arias added. Reaction remained muted and it was not until 1756 that Handel mounted another London production, adding elements of other oratorios together to create a new first part. This was still unsuccessful and the composer did not take up the work again. It’s dificult to see now why there was such contemporary coolness towards such a powerful work that in the next century would attain popularity second only to Messiah. Israel in Egypt is a colossal work comprising twenty-eight massive double choruses, linked together by a few bars of recitative, with five arias and three duets interspersed among them. Unlike Handel’s other oratorios, there is no overture or prelude to the work.
The superb live recording on this double CD is part of a cycle of oratorios and masses performed in the basilica of Maulbronn Abbey with the Hanoverian Court Orchestra and Maulbronn Chamber Choir under the direction of Jürgen Budday. The series combines authentically performed works with the optimal acoustics and atmosphere of this unique monastic church—an ideal location demanding the transparency of playing and the interpretive unveiling of the rhetoric intimations of the composition. The music is exclusively performed on reconstructed historical instruments, which are tuned to the pitch customary in the composer’s lifetimes. Soloists include sopranos Miriam Allan and Sarah Wegener, the wonderful countertenor David Allsopp, tenor Benjamin Hulett and basses Steffen Balbach and Daniel Raschinsky.
This is an exciting and beautiful performance of one of the greatest and most passionate works from the Baroque era.
***** Excellent Music to Enjoy
It does not matter where you come from. This album will resonate and make you wonder 'why I had not come across an album like this one'. Enjoy...