Handel

Handel
CD Releases
with compositions by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
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 33,00SpotifyDeezerApple 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 · 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 33,00SpotifyApple MusicTIDALAmazon Digital MusiciTunes MasteredFor...Prime Phonic HDQobuz HDHDtracksReview

***** 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 · JephthaGeorge Fr. Handel · Jephtha
George Frideric Handel
Jephtha
The English Oratorio HWV 70, performed according to the traditions of the time
by Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Melinda Paulsen (Mezzo-Soprano),
Charles Humphries (Countertenor), Julian Podger (Tenor),
Stephen Varcoe (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 33,00SpotifyiTunes Apple MusicReview

A splendidly atmospheric recording

The oratorio Jephta was George Frideric Handel's last large work, written in 1751 in London and first performed at Covent Garden in the following year. This dramatic and poetic work in three movements reflects the inner aspect of Jephta's unsolvible solitude when he is expelled from Gilead by his half-brothers and grows up in exile. This splendidly atmospheric recording was made at the medeieval Monastery Maulbronn in Germany and fully captures the music's great force and beauty. The performers here include Emma Kirkby (soprano), Melinda Paulsen (mezzo-soprano), Charles Humphries (alto), Julian Podger (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (bass), together with the Barockorchester der Klosterkonzerte, Maulbronner Kammerchor, and conductor Jürgen Budday.

New Classics UK

Review

Clear and beautiful

In this public performance of his last oratorio, recorded and performed at the church of monastery Maulbronn in Germany, the sound is very clear and beautiful...This K&K issue is pleasurable a worthwhile addition to the work´s discography...

John T. Hughes, International Record Review

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

Review

Very impressive

Kirkby shines vocaly, this being a performance to emphasise the profound and the serious. The chorus sing strongly, with warm and rounded tone, and firm lines; several of the choral numbers are very impressive, for example the Part I chorus '0 God, behold our sore distress', which has considerable grandeur. The marvellous chorus that ends Part 2, one of Handel's noblest, 'How dark, 0 Lord, are thy decrees, all hid from human sight' (his blindness overcame him as he wrote it) is well sung. Some of the quicker choruses are done with real vigour and confidence, for example 'When his loud voice' and the jubilant final ones.
The resonant church recording enriches the sound of the choir. The orchestra is hearty and the conductor, Jürgen Budday, draws some buoyant rhythms from them in the faster music.
The strongest inducement to buy this set lies in the loveliness of Emma Kirkby's singing. This is no longer the exquisite, delicate thread of sound that it once was, but it is still exquisite and delicate while being much fuller and richer, and her characterisation of lphis, the daughter of Jephtha who 'must a victim fall' because of his 'impious vow' to sacrifice the first person he encounters after victory. Listen to her wonderfully shapely and natural singing of 'Tune the soft melodious lute', for example, or 'Farewell, ye limpid springs and floods', as she movingly welcomes death.
Storgè is sung with strength and clarity by Melinda Paulsen (who also does the Angel air in Part 3). Jephtha himself is well taken by Julian Podger, a very capable singer. He is at his best in the heroic music, such as 'His mighty arm'. Zebul is warmly and sensitively sung by Stephen Varcoe, Charles Humphries provides an able Hamor, duetting gracefully with Emma Kirkby in two numbers.

Stanley Sadie, Gramophone Magazine

George Fr. Handel · JephthaGeorge Fr. Handel · Jephtha
George Frideric Handel:
J E P H T H A
Complete recording of the English Oratorio HWV 70,
performed according to the traditions of the time
by Kirsten Blaise (Soprano), Annelie Sophie Müller (Mezzo-Soprano),
David Allsopp (Altus, Countertenor), Benjamin Hulett (Tenor),
Simon Bailey (Bass), Ensemble il capriccio (Baroque 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. 163 Minutes (2h:43m)
2 CD
EUR 33,00SpotifyDeezerApple MusicAmazon Digital MusiciTunesTidalPrime PhonicPresto Classical HDReview

Almost three hours of superb-sounding music...

This recording is in many ways a real treasure. Its chief value is that it vividly captures a wonderful performance of Handel’s final oratorio, giving the listener a fine impression of the venue, the medieval Maulbronn monastery in southern Germany. The opening notes of the thrillingly dramatic overture grab the listener’s interest and the well-chosen soloists make a vivid impression.
The story involves the military leader, Jephtha (tenor), who is asked by his brother, Zebul (baritone) to lead the Israelites against their oppressors, the Ammonites. Jephtha vows that, if successful, he will sacrifice the first person he sees after the battle. This turns out to be his daughter, Iphis (soprano). His wife, Storgè (mezzo-soprano) and Iphis’s fiancé Hamor (counter-tenor), are suitably horrified, as are the onlooking Israelites. An angel (soprano) transmutes Iphis's sentence to life as a virgin; hallelujahs are sung.
Benjamin Hulett is outstanding as Jephtha who at first is exuberant when facing his military task, then anguished and horrified at the results of his vow. His accompagnato “Deeper, and deeper still” would be worthy of a musical dramatization of King Lear. The other main role is that of Iphis, sung by American soprano Kirsten Blaise; she also must express a wide range of emotions and carries it off extremely well. Simon Bailey is rich-voiced and stalwart as Zebul, and Annelie Sophie Müller as Storgè is blessed with a voice that has a rosy bloom about it. David Allsopp gets off to an uncertain start as Hamor but in the end rises to full worthy participation in his duet with Iphis, plus a quartet and quintet with the other principals.
The 39-member choir and 26-member orchestra provide exactly the right sound for this great work. The orchestra use specially reconstructed period instruments tuned to the historically accurate a=415 Hz. Jürgen Budday’s tempi are well-judged throughout. Some might find the acoustic to be overly resonant, but I find it helps bring to life a performance I wish I had been able to attend. But there are almost three hours of superb-sounding music on just two CDs.
Still the stated aim of K&K is to capture an outstanding performance in which “the performers, audience, opus and room enter into an intimate dialogue that is...unique and unrepeatable”. This they have accomplished.

© 2014 ConcertoNet.com, Michael Johnson

George Fr. Handel · JoshuaGeorge Fr. Handel · Joshua
George Frideric Handel:
J O S H U A
Unedited version from 1748 of the English Oratorio HWV 64,
performed according to the traditions of the time
by Miriam Allan (Soprano), David Allsopp (Countertenor),
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor), James Rutherford (Bass),
Hanoverian Court Orchestra (Hannoversche Hofkapelle),
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. 140 Minutes
2 CD
EUR 33,00SpotifyGoogle PlayApple MusicAmazon Digital Music IAmazon Digital Music IIiTunes MasteredFor...Prime Phonic HDReview

Unique

A unique interpretation of a baroque master piece.

A listener on YouTube

Review

Outstanding with the right balance between voices, orchestra and choir...

The splendid German label, K&K continues to delight eclectic connoisseurs with selected works, mostly choral recorded in the splendid setting of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Maulbronn Monastery in rural Germany.
Handel's 'Joshua', an oratorio which is perhaps rather overlooked when compared to other more copiously played works. However this splendid interpretation which includes some of the world's rising stars in oratorio singing could change that neglect. Budday directs the Hannoversche Hofkapelle with alacrity, never forcing the pace untowardly but at the same time keeping the ebb and flow of the whole work in check.
The recoding is outstanding with just the right balance between voices, orchestra and choir and I really must recommend this beautifully presented set to all lovers of choral music.

Gerald Fenech on Classical Net

Review

An exemplary recording...

George Frideric Handel's Joshua was composed in a month during the summer of 1747. It was the fourth oratorio by the great composer based on a libretto by Thomas Morell, and premiered in 1748 at the Covent Garden Theatre, London. Based on the Biblical stories of Joshua, this is one of Handel's works from the height of his late creative period. Following the Jacobite Rising in England, he produced a series of oratorios based on military themes: Occasional Oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus, Alexander Balus, Joshua and Solomon. One of Handel's most famous choruses, 'See the Conq'ring Hero Comes' was originally written for Joshua, although the composer soon added it to the better-known Judas Maccabaeus, which had premiered the season before. The sources, story and style of the two works are similar, but Joshua has perhaps been more underrated and contains some wonderful music, especially in the second act with its splendid opening and closing choruses. This exemplary recording, made in 2007, is part of a cycle of old testament oratorios by G. F. Handel and is performed at Maulbronn monastery. The series combines authentically performed baroque oratorios 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, aided by historically informed performance on reconstructed historical instruments tuned to the pitch customary in the composer's lifetime. Jürgen Budday, artistic director and founder, conducts the excellent Maulbronn Chamber Choir and Hanoverian Court Orchestra, with a fine array of soloists Miriam Allan (soprano), David Allsopp (countertenor), Mark LeBrocq (tenor) and James Rutherford (bass). See also these K&K recordings: BELSHAZZAR, SAUL and DIVINE LITURGY.

new-classics.co.uk

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 Digital MusiciTunes 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

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 33,00SpotifyDeezerGoogle PlayApple MusicAmazon Digital MusiciTunesTIDALReview

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 33,00SpotifyDeezerApple MusicTIDALiTunes MasteredFor...Qobuz HDeClassical HDPresto Classical HDHDtracksPrime 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
(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

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 33,00SpotifyDeezerApple MusicAmazon Digital MusiciTunes MasteredFor...Qobuz HDeClassical HDHDtracksPresto 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

Handel/Mozart · The Messiah / Der Messias K. 572Handel/Mozart · The Messiah / Der Messias K. 572
Handel / Mozart:
Der Messias (Messiah)
Complete recording of Mozart's reorchestration and arrangement
of the English oratorio HWV 56 by George Frideric Handel (sung in German),
performed according to the traditions of the time
by Marlis Petersen (Soprano), Margot Oitzinger (Alto),
Markus Schäfer (Tenor), Marek Rzepka (Bass),
the 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. 133 Minutes
2 CD
EUR 33,00SpotifyDeezerGoogle PlayApple MusicAmazon Digital MusiciTunes MasteredFor...eClassicalPresto ClassicalPrime Phonic HDReview

A superior version of Mozart's unique effort

Mozart's arrangement of Handel's Messiah, made in 1789, relates to his involvement in the circle of musical connoisseurs surrounding the Baron Gottfried van Swieten, Viennese nobleman and aficionado of the monuments of Baroque music. It is, as the booklet here aptly puts it, a "cover version" (the German participle, charmingly enough, is "gecovert") of Handel's work, neither a radical rethinking nor a light rescoring.
Mozart adds a good deal of wind scoring, often arranging things so that the winds peek out with a wink toward the end of an aria. The treatments of the flute and bassoon are playful and very Mozartian, yet the music, with the exception of one number, "Wenn Gott ist für uns" (CD 2, No. 23), is Handel's. Even that number, in which the original aria is discarded in favor of a new recitative, has subtle echoes of the original intervallic structure in Mozart's new music, and in the big choruses Mozart plays it straight.
The biggest change for the casual listener is the one from English to the German of van Swieten himself, working from an earlier translation by Friedrich Klopstock and Christoph Ebeling. If "Alle Tale" does not have quite the ringing quality of "Ev'ry valley," "Herr der Herrn, der Götter Gott" gets the message across. Conductor Jürgen Budday, leading the Hannoversche Hofkapelle, offers a spirited reading that reveals many of the score's smaller details. Although the soprano of Marlis Petersen is a bit outsized for a work that was originally performed with only 12 singers and has, for all the monumentality of Handel's Messiah, a certain intimate quality, this is a superior version of Mozart's unique effort, benefiting from the edge of live performance in a sonically spectacular venue. The booklet is helpful, quoting extensively from a detailed eighteenth century essay on Mozart's effort.

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

Review

A really excellent production with vitality and great energy

The small but enterprising German label K&K continue to regale the discerning collector with lavish productions of selected works in the magnificent setting of the UNESCO World Heritage Maulbronn Monastery in Germany.
After releasing what can only be termed as a rather excellent 'Messiah' they have now turned their attentions to the Mozart arrangement of the same work sung in German. With such miraculous acoustics available, the recording is truly a sonic gem especially with the distinguished and alert playing of the Hannover Chamber Orchestra which infuses the orchestral parts Mozart composed with vitality and great energy.
The quartet of soloists does not include any real big names but they are all of the highest quality. I was particularly taken with Marlies Peterson whose ethereal capacity for high notes reminds one of the more highly rated Renée Fleming. Rzepka is also very strong as the bass whilst the monastery choir sings with élan and perfect diction, being here on home ground.
Booklet notes are suitably ample as are the recording details which include some stunning photographs of the performance. If you are looking for a high quality 'Messiah' in the Mozart arrangement, then you should look no further than this really excellent German production.

Gerald Fenech on Classical Net

Sarah Wegener & Ensemble il capriccio · Arias & CantatasSarah Wegener & Ensemble il capriccio · Arias & Cantatas
Sarah Wegener & Ensemble il capriccio:
Arias & Cantatas
Sarah Wegener (Soprano) and the ensemble il capriccio
performs according to the traditions of the time:
George Frideric Handel ~ Gloria (Cantata) · Overture (Rinaldo) · Furie terribili · Lascia ch'io pianga · Se pietà di me non senti · Da tempeste · Farewell ye limpid springs · Eternal source of light divine
Henry Purcell ~ When I am laid · O let me weep · Fantasy upon a Ground
Giovanni Battista Ferrandini ~ Se d'un Dio · Scottish Traditional ~ Auld Lang Syne et.al.
Concert Master: Friedemann Wezel
A concert recording from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
HD Recording · DDD · c. 76 Minutes
CD
EUR 22,00SpotifyDeezerApple MusicTidalAmazon Digital MusiciTunes MasteredFor...Qobuz HDHD TracksPrime Phonic HDPresto Classical HDReview

A rich and warm voice in a splendidly recorded and produced release

Sarah Wegener enthralls listeners with the richness and warmth of her voice and approaches every role in a chamber musical way. She regularly works with Kent Nagano, Philippe Herreweghe, Thomas Hengelbrock, Heinz Holliger, Michael Hofstetter and Frieder Bernius. She studied with Professor Jaeger-Bohm in Stuttgart and took part in master classes with Dame Gwyneth Jones and Renee Morloc.
Here, Sarah performs with the Ensemble Il Capriccio arias and cantatas from the baroque era, thematically enhanced with modern compositions. The release documents a concert at the church of the German UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery in Germany 2015, splendidly recorded and produced by Andreas Otto Grimminger and Josef-Stefan Kindler for their series "Maulbronn Monastery Edition".

Presto Classical, November 2016

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