Author Topic: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios  (Read 109681 times)

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #860 on: November 14, 2017, 12:44:15 PM »
It's certainly worth getting. I have all but three of the included recordings (Messiah, Jephtha and Theodora). They are all major works, except Esther and Athalia, and most of the recordings are among the best. Although this does not mean so much because for many of them there are only about 3-5 recordings available, they are all very good. And most of the major pieces are included. (There are few more out there with even fewer recordings, mostly on Hyperion, such as Joshua, Joseph, Alexander Balus...)
A small flaw is that the version of Israel in Egypt is the 2-part-one (but if you like the piece, Parrott's recording of the 3-part version is on a cheap twofer).

Thanks. I actually have Israel in Egypt...with Parrott no less! Didn't remember that one when I was writing. So except for that and Messiah, all new pieces for me. The singing sounded quite good on the clips.
Offenbach gets a raw deal in recordings considering his talent! For a discussion of this outstanding composer too little recorded: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5572.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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    probably something somebody somewhere is snickering at...wait, Schoenberg! Definitely Schoenberg! (And, let's see, does he have a disciple or two...)...
Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #861 on: November 14, 2017, 04:10:01 PM »
Is this worth getting? The Oratorios are a huge hole in my collection (I think I have just messiah).

Absolutely worth getting. I have most of the Oratorios, though not necessarily from the Universal team (Decca, Philips, DG), but musically they are the equal of the operas in every respect. And I rather like Esther. ;)
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Jo498

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #862 on: November 15, 2017, 12:10:46 AM »
There is nothing wrong with Esther but it is among the earliest of the english oratorios and certainly far less famous than "Saul" and most of the others included in that box.
The major omissions from the box are the Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (not really an oratorio which might be the reason) and "L'allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato" (where the reason is probably that Universal did not have a recording in their vaults although Christophers' Samson is also not from them).
Many listeners prefer the oratorios because they are generally more varied than the operas and the choral passages are what Handel has been most famous for since the late 18th century.
Some of the included oratorios have been successfully staged. Acis and Galathea (one of the most popular as the overhauling by both Mozart and Mendelssohn shows) is more like a chamber opera anyway. Semele and Hercules are also operas in all but in name and language. But some of the greatest ones are rather un-operatic. Solomon is pretty static except for the Harlot scene but has some of the greatest choral pieces ever.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

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