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George Fr. Handel · BelshazzarGeorge Fr. Handel · Belshazzar
George Frideric Handel:

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 33,00SpotifyDeezerNapsterYouTube MusicApple MusicIdagioTidalAmazon.comiTunesQobuz HDPresto Music HDHD TracksE-Onkyo HDReview

***** 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


***** 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


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.



Awarded by Qobuz with the HI-RES AUDIO

November 2013

Organ Gloriosa · In honour of the Prince of HomburgOrgan Gloriosa · In honour of the Prince of Homburg
Organ Gloriosa
In honour of the Prince of Homburg
Ulrike Northoff presents
the Great Buergy-Organ in the Bad Homburg Castle Church
with Johann S. Bach: Fantasia et Fuga "The Great",
Georg Muffat: Passacaglia for Organ,
Carl Ph.E. Bach: Sonata No. IV,
Christian H. Rinck: Flute Concerto for Organ Op. 55,
Felix Mendelssohn: Organ Sonata No. IV, Op. 65
Recorded in the Castle Church Bad Homburg
HD Recording · DDD · c. 56 Minutes
EUR 22,00SpotifyDeezerApple MusicAmazon MusicTidaliTunes MasteredFor...Qobuz HDHD TrackseClassical HDPresto Classical HDPrime Phonic HDReview

A fine compilation

This fine compilation of show stopping organ works is done full justice by the imposing Bad Homburg Church Organ played with relish and gusto by Ulrike Northoff. Starting off with Bach, appropriately enough, she gives a titanic interpretation of the 'Great' Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 542. The rarely heard Sonata by Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel also comes across quite nicely as does an interesting discovery by Christian Rinck, a rather obscure name whose Concerto for organ (originally for flute) certainly warrants some attention. We finally conclude with some Mendelssohn, his fourth sonata which comes across very well played indeed. K&K's presentation is quite excellent with expansive notes and some very striking photographs. The sound is very vivid and immediate although some boom is also detected due to the large, cavernous acoustic.

Gerald Fenech on Classical Net



Awarded by Qobuz with the HI-RES AUDIO

March 2012

Schubert: The Death And The Maiden & Janácek: Intimate LettersSchubert: The Death And The Maiden & Janácek: Intimate Letters
String Quartets
Schubert: The Death And The Maiden
Janácek: Intimate Letters

Leos Janácek:
String Quartet No. 2
"Intimate Letters"

Franz Schubert:
String Quartet in D Minor
"The death and the Maiden"

Performed by the Amati Quartet

A live recording from the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery

HD Recording · DDD · c. 65 Minutes

EUR 22,00SpotifyDeezerNapsterYouTube MusicApple MusicTidalAmazon.comiTunesQobuz HDPresto Music HDeClassical HDHD TracksReview

An extraordinary reading that rises to the moment

The severe sound environment of the Maulbronn Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the German state of Baden-Württemberg that dates to the twelfth century, has given rise to a series of recordings covering varying aspects of music from the Western concert tradition. That sound environment is put to intelligent use in this string quartet recital, which pairs well-worn pieces but gives them unusually intense interpretations that are heightened by the hard resonance of the sound. Sample the very beginning of the Schubert "String Quartet in D minor, D. 810" "Death and the Maiden", to get yourself into the disc; the opening chords might be described as slashing. Move on to the second-movement variation set built on the song that gives the quartet its name; where many quartets let a sort of debilitated gloom hang over much of the movement, everything here is a life-and-death struggle. The stronger of the two performances on the disc is that of Janácek's 1928 "String Quartet No. 2," subtitled "Intimate Letters," a hypersubjective work whose emotional content could have been drawn straight from one of Sigmund Freud's contemporaneous psychotherapy sessions. The work is as dissonant as almost any other of its period that does not completely reject tonality, but the dissonance is used in the service of untrammelled expression. The letters evoked are those between the composer and his married mistress. Yet the Amati Quartet's performance, ringing around the monastery walls, brings to mind, to use John le Carré's memorable simile, thoughts that are like birds stuck in a greenhouse. It's an extraordinary reading that rises to the moment offered by a specific performance space, and the disc as a whole, while not for those who like the emotional temperature of their classical music kept to medium, is decisively recommended to those wanting to try out the Maulbronn series.

James Manheim, All Music Guide


I enjoyed it tremendously

It took me completely unawares when the dramatic opening bars of "Death and the Maiden" gripped me by the throat and threatened immediate life-extinction; I felt as if I were living the story myself, and though no maiden, I could certainly relate to her death-obsessed plight. This version is almost orchestral in feeling. While it is true that there is a huge amount of reverb in this space - well, it is a monastery - this only partially accounts for the destructive vehemence that the Amati gives this work. They see and saw their way as if it were the world's last concert, or the devil himself was in the audience. I enjoyed it tremendously...

Steven E. Ritter, FANFARE Magazine


Another thumbs up for this extremely enterprising German label

The enterprising German label K&K has made a name for themselves by issuing critically acclaimed recordings of oratorios and other sacred works in the haunting location of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Maulbronn Monastery. This CD features two string quartets by masters in the genre, Franz Schubert and Leoš Janácek played by the legendary Amati Quartet, one of the finest ensembles currently recording. Both works come across quite beautifully in the sumptuous acoustic and as expected, the Amati play with their exemplary brilliance especially in the "Intimate Letters" which is certainly very hard to bring off. This is another thumbs up for this extremely enterprising German label.

Gerald Fenech on Classical Net



Awarded by Qobuz with the HI-RES AUDIO

March 2012

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