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***** A great recording!

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


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