Jephtha (1752) was George Frederick Handel's final oratorio, and it was composed during a period of incipient blindness and declining health. Yet the composer's artistic powers were undiminished in this dramatization of the Biblical story, for the arias and choruses are as memorable as any from Handel's earlier works in the genre, including Messiah and Israel in Egypt.
Jephtha (1752) was George Frederick Handel's final oratorio, and it was composed during a period of incipient blindness and declining health. Yet the composer's artistic powers were undiminished in this dramatization of the Biblical story, for the arias and choruses are as memorable as any from Handel's earlier works in the genre, including Messiah and Israel in Egypt. This 2008 recording by Fabio Biondi, the Collegium Vocale Ghent, and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra is a brilliant period presentation, and the spry rhythms, lean counterpoint, clear textures, and distinctive colors of original instruments combine to make this an especially enjoyable performance of a fairly neglected masterpiece.
The plot of "Jephtha" is based, with alterations, on Chapter XI of Judges. This begins, "Now Jephtha the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of a harlot." He was disinherited by his half-brothers, the sons of Gilead's legitimate wife, and went into exile, becoming a kind of outlaw leader. Now the Israelites, including [hose of Gilead, who have been following Mrange gods, are being oppressed by the Ammonites. [/quote]
This BBC Proms concert, titled A Handel Celebration, commemorates the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death and the 30th anniversary of the founding of The Sixteen, which got its name from the fact that the original chorus had 16 members. The forces used here are a bit larger than those Harry Christophers usually employs. The mixed-voice chorus numbers 30, and the orchestra is listed at 42 members, although it does not appear that they are all onstage at the same time.
Does music add substance to words or is music inspired by them? Songs of departure and farewell are deeply rooted in the great tradition of British choral music, nourished by ancient myths of testing journeys, wayside transformations and homecomings. The transcendent nature of music and the power of poetry to challenge and alter perceptions of reality – harnessed by English composers over many centuries – flow through a programme that invites contemplation of life and death, of love and loss, creation and eternity. In a journey covering six centuries of musical history, The Sixteen performs a cappella anthems with powerful texts by writers as varied as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Fry and W.H. Auden.
The magnificent Christopher Purves performs a recital of Handel’s bass arias. This unique collection demonstrates the range and brilliance of Handel’s writing for this voice, featuring a selection from Italian and English operas, English classical drama, Biblical oratorios, literary odes and a masque. Handel’s endlessly imaginative gift for characterization is fully explored here, with Purves commanding an extraordinary emotional and technical range from the buffo blustering of Polyphemus in Acis and Gatalea to the loving musings of Abinoam in ‘Tears, such as tender fathers shed’ from the oratorio Deborah.
Brilliant Classics continues its famous Composer Edition series with one of the giants of the Baroque, George Frideric Handel, the celebrated German who settled in London. Having absorbed the German and Italian styles of his time he formed his own distinctive musical language, which, while following the current fashions and audience preferences, retained his own deep humanity and inner power.
First and foremost, Domenico Scarlatti is regarded as the greatest composer of binary harpsichord sonatas of all time, and that is as it should be: he wrote more than 600 of them and many are constantly recorded and played. However, early in his Italian career, Scarlatti developed a proven track record as a composer of sacred music, some of it under the watchful eye of his father, Alessandro Scarlatti, believed by many at the time as the top composer of the age. The fact most readily observed in regard to Domenico's sacred music is that his Stabat mater, composed in 1717 or 1718, was the work within that genre replaced in Rome by Giovanni Pergolesi's Stabat mater around 1735. The Scarlatti work was conceived in a different style to different strictures; while it has become the most recorded of Scarlatti's sacred works, it definitely suffers when paired with the Pergolesi owing to its immediacy and familiarity. On Coro's Iste Confessor, the Sixteen led by Harry Christophers widely opt for Scarlatti's own, other sacred music as filler to the "Stabat mater with results fairer to the composer and quite favorable to listeners.
I do think that this Decca set is arguably the best compilation reissue of such a bulk of Handel work which has been released in a long time, just in time to commemorate the two hundred fiftieth anniversary of the passing of il caro Sassone. There is a lot in this box, absence of libretti notwithstanding. The enclosed booklet is essential to navigate you through the track listings and timings and little else but a small general essay on GFH.By John Van Note