GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 06, 2007, 05:36:56 PM

Title: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 06, 2007, 05:36:56 PM
This one ought to be a sticky!

But until enough folks catch the Handel bug it will undoubtedly fluctuate.

My newest Handel arrival is a selection from the Concerti Grossi, Op.6 (Manze). Central works in Handel's oeuvre but until now overlooked by yours truly in favor of the operatic works, which, of course, are titans of the stage.

Fine works, the Op.6, and worth every inch of their popularity. Even so I feel the tug of the stage works at every turn. Something missing, I suppose, when 'endless' appoggiaturas (vocal, that is...) are left out of the picture. 8)

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 08, 2007, 07:32:00 PM
Wouldn't want to forget D Minor's wonderful Handel link:


www.gfhandel.org/index.htm



Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: woodshedder on April 21, 2007, 04:33:20 PM
I have been feasting on the Messiah for the last month approx. I was astounded to read that Handel wrote it in only 24 days!
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: knight66 on April 21, 2007, 10:13:57 PM
Although Messiah was written quickly, it was not all fresh music. For instance the Halleluah Chorus was borrowed from an earlier work, as were several other very famous sections. Nevertheless, Messiah is so well crafted that they all fit together like a jigsaw and feel right in the new context.

Mike
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: DavidW on April 23, 2007, 05:24:05 PM
A friend on this forum sent me a gift--

His Italian Cantatas, nice, light music! :)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: knight66 on April 23, 2007, 11:26:59 PM
They can also be seriously dramatic, such as 'Lucretia'. By no means are they fluff.

Mike
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: DavidW on April 24, 2007, 04:56:25 AM
They can also be seriously dramatic, such as 'Lucretia'. By no means are they fluff.

Mike

I haven't heard that one.  I have the Kirkby cd, I think either she picked some lightweight music or she is a lightweight, one of the two.  But it's some nice listening. :)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: knight66 on April 24, 2007, 06:41:50 AM
Yes David, Kirkby is fine in her way, but it essentially has to be pretty pastoral. To hear what a dramatic interpretation can be like, I suggest Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson's Handel recital.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HQ0GXZHFL._SS500_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on July 29, 2008, 08:30:59 AM
Here is your first true "fluctuation" Don!  ;D  My wife and I continue to enjoy Handel's music more and more.  This past Sunday we heard his Chaconne in G Major for solo harpsichord played live in a small church here in Denver.  Absolutely lovely stuff.  Also, my wife and I have worked through this set that Harry sent us a number of times:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61AHRETA38L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Handel: Chamber Music (Complete) (though from the larger box set I believe)

And today, I had this playing:

Haendel Apollo e Dafne
Judith Nelson/David Thomas
McGegan/Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Harmonia Mundi

We also hope to attend this Handel celebration in May:
http://dcc1079.googlepages.com/

I will continue to post my Handel listening here and I am sure we will see more as we approach the 250th anniversary of his death in April of 2009.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 29, 2008, 05:38:49 PM
Here is your first true "fluctuation" Don!  ;D

 ;D

After a year! :o

Thanks for jump-starting this thread, Bill. It's great to read your impressions on Handel. 

I hope you and your wife can make it to that celebration. Keep us posted on whatever Handel subject tickles your fancy. :)


 
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: val on July 29, 2008, 11:27:53 PM
One of the most powerful and impressive works of Händel is the funeral anthem "The ways of Zion do mourn", composed on the death of Queen Caroline. It is not as famous as the oratorios or some other anthems, but, in my opinion, it is one of Händel's supreme inspirations.

There is a remarkable version conducted by Gardiner.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on February 23, 2011, 08:49:50 PM
Doctor, we have a pulse:

(http://t1.ftcdn.net/jpg/00/00/90/84/400_F_908447_Y8JX3vog3wog3wJKqjFcd0sGHe2PvI.jpg)

Top shelf:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51V7vba5AML._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
From the liner notes:

In Italy Handel was desired to furnish his quota of cantatas for the musical evenings held by patrons at their great houses.  Sometimes a complete cantata might be composed and performed in a single evening (now that is some "smithing"!), but the larger pieces with orchestral accompiament, usually produced for special occasions, were composed in advance and rehearsed in the usual way.  In Rome, cantatas were useful substitutes for opera, which could not be performed in the city.....

Anyone know why they were banned in Rome?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 23, 2011, 09:26:17 PM
Doctor, we have a pulse:

(http://t1.ftcdn.net/jpg/00/00/90/84/400_F_908447_Y8JX3vog3wog3wJKqjFcd0sGHe2PvI.jpg)

Bill to the rescue once again!


Quote
Top shelf:

In Italy Handel was desired to furnish his quota of cantatas for the musical evenings held by patrons at their great houses.  Sometimes a complete cantata might be composed and performed in a single evening (now that is some "smithing"!), but the larger pieces with orchestral accompiament, usually produced for special occasions, were composed in advance and rehearsed in the usual way.  In Rome, cantatas were useful substitutes for opera, which could not be performed in the city.....

Anyone know why they were banned in Rome?

"...now that is some smithing!..."  ;D


Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on February 23, 2011, 09:45:03 PM
(http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSDPjH-AD5nEVPOiMm74JLcJbaOrHSfpILRPEuh58zgNvKqCRih&t=1)

"I'm just getting warmed up!"
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: The new erato on February 23, 2011, 09:51:01 PM
  In Rome, cantatas were useful substitutes for opera, which could not be performed in the city.....[/i]

Anyone know why they were banned in Rome?
Isn't that rather obvious with operas regularly being banned during church holidays all over catholic Europe given Rome's particular position within catholicism? Gave growth to the oratorio as an alternative, more dramatic than the cantata.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on February 24, 2011, 06:31:43 PM
Thanks, Erato.

Today I snagged these four cds (thanks George for the look-ups at your end):

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CAa9vJNzL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VZHMptojL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41220T0HG5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51-0w34CpKL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Already spun the Water Music.  Fascinating.  The Alla Hornpipe on this one is syrupy slow, but brilliant, light and beautiful.  My Pinnock recording takes this movement at a strong clip with force.  However, the Pinnock is 4:13 and the Scherchen is 4:01.  Not sure why this is.  Any thoughts?
 
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: PaulSC on February 24, 2011, 06:58:15 PM
Thanks, Erato.

Today I snagged these four cds (thanks George for the look-ups at your end):

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CAa9vJNzL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VZHMptojL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41220T0HG5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51-0w34CpKL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Already spun the Water Music.  Fascinating.  The Alla Hornpipe on this one is syrupy slow, but brilliant, light and beautiful.  My Pinnock recording takes this movement at a strong clip with force.  However, the Pinnock is 4:13 and the Scherchen is 4:01.  Not sure why this is.  Any thoughts?
Well I haven't heard either, but one explanation would be if Pinnock takes repeats and Scherchen skips them.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on February 24, 2011, 08:00:53 PM
Well I haven't heard either, but one explanation would be if Pinnock takes repeats and Scherchen skips them.

Thanks, Paul.  Gurn PM'd me with the same info.  Not knowing the nuts and bolts of music, are repeats intended for this type of interpretation, that is, is it up to the conductor/performer to choose the amount, or does the composer usually note how many times something is to be repeated?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: PaulSC on February 24, 2011, 08:23:13 PM
Taking the repeats is generally the right thing to do, from a "historically informed performance" (HIP) point of view. So it makes sense that Pinnock, who works in the HIP tradition, takes them, while Scherchen, coming from more of a romantic tradition, feels free to skip them.

My personal opinion is that great performances can come from both sides, although I love the sound of period instruments playing Baroque repertoire. I'd love to hear those Scherchen Handel recordings.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: FideLeo on February 25, 2011, 04:40:20 AM
Taking the repeats is generally the right thing to do, from a "historically informed performance" (HIP) point of view.

The question remains though even for HIPer's, in cases such as Bach's Brandenburg Concerto I.  Should both halves of the minuet be repeated each time it returns in the finale?  The music sounds interminable when all implied repeats are taken, and thus few (none?) on record actually do so, HIP or not.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: PaulSC on February 25, 2011, 11:14:39 AM
The question remains though even for HIPer's, in cases such as Bach's Brandenburg Concerto I.  Should both halves of the minuet be repeated each time it returns in the finale?  The music sounds interminable when all implied repeats are taken, and thus few (none?) on record actually do so, HIP or not.
Yes, good point -- in fact I had the Brandenburg I example specifically in mind when I hedged with "generally" in my earlier remark.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on February 25, 2011, 08:51:18 PM
Thanks to all for the info.  Dave (Sonic), can you give me a link to the Handel keyboard music you have?


Now playing:

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/1f/bb/5d4ce03ae7a0e2d88285c110.L._AA300_.jpg)
Composed 1724

Just picked this up.  Harnoncourt has never disappointed me.  His streak continues with this purchse tonight.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: FideLeo on February 26, 2011, 01:53:11 AM
Yes, good point -- in fact I had the Brandenburg I example specifically in mind when I hedged with "generally" in my earlier remark.

Not all HIP conductors repeat the fugal-introduciton section in a French overture on record.  Ditto the development-recapitulation repeat in the first movement when performing a Haydn or Mozart symphony. 

I prefer the whole thing in most cases and am forced to check or guess for repeats whenever buying a new HIP recording of Bach orchestral suites or Mozart symphonies.   Handel's Water Music and Fireworks Music seem less plagued by this for some reason.   
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: FideLeo on February 26, 2011, 02:08:32 AM
Now playing Antonini's audacious and BIG interpretation of Handel's Grand Concerto...

http://www.youtube.com/v/N3ZrC5n3aEk

http://www.youtube.com/v/qoBdtoyYKmI



Scherchen's performance (and indeed most other) sounds not so much dated as reticent in comparison (speaking from memory, not having these discs with me at the moment).




Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on February 26, 2011, 06:51:58 AM
If you mean by reticent for Scherchen's

inclined to be silent or uncommunicative in speech

then I do not necessarily agree.  However, if you mean:

restrained in expression, presentation, or appearance <the room has an aspect of reticent dignity — A. N. Whitehead

then I am on board. :D

I really enjoyed the Antonini's, enough to add it to my wish-list.  I can see where you find the word audacious fitting, where I might bring in the words lush and full bodied. In fact comparing a few of the movements side by side at my end was very difficult.  Enough so I was wondering if I had the wrong pairings.  Meh.  Does not matter.  I enjoyed both so should have both on my shelf. ;D


Any other Handel recs mnemosyne?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: chasmaniac on September 30, 2011, 07:40:33 AM
2 pages for Handel? For shame!

Here are my favourite of his arias, if I can work this whole cut and paste technology:

As steals the morn, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato
As when the dove laments, Acis and Galatea
Se pietà di me non senti, Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Künft’ger Zeiten eitler Kummer, Neun Deutsche Arien
Süßer Blumen Ambraflocken, Neun Deutsche Arien
Oh what pleasures, Alexander Balus
Beneath the vine or fig-tree’s shade, Solomon
Son qual stanco, Arianna in Creta
Angels ever bright and fair, Theodora
With darkness, deep, Theodora
Oh that I on wings could rise, Theodora
There, held in holy passion, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato
Let me wander not unseen, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato
How willing my paternal love, Samson
Heart, the seat of soft delight, Acis and Galatea
Where’er you walk, Semele
Vieni, o figlio, Ottone
Ombra mai fù, Serse
The pilgrim’s home, the sick man’s health, Theodora
To thee, thou glorious son of worth, Theodora
Lascia ch’io pianga, Rinaldo
V’adoro, pupille, Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: chasmaniac on October 05, 2011, 08:07:41 AM
'Course, there is this thread: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2077.0.html?PHPSESSID=ac122b43f7628be1652f290a63c22081 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2077.0.html?PHPSESSID=ac122b43f7628be1652f290a63c22081).

Cancel the shame.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Geo Dude on December 26, 2011, 06:16:34 AM
I've been listening to this recording of the Harpsichord Suites lately and loving it.  Handel has a gift for melody, to say the least.

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 27, 2014, 06:02:19 PM
Handel just broke into my top 3 composers after a week of listening.  Time to bring this thread out of hibernation.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Ken B on March 27, 2014, 06:23:04 PM
Handel just broke into my top 3 composers after a week of listening.  Time to bring this thread out of hibernation.
I'm confused. Handel is not popular on GMG or something?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 27, 2014, 06:34:05 PM
I'm confused. Handel is not popular on GMG or something?

It's a head scratcher.  I believe that Handel is liked by many here. He just does not get the run of a Beethoven or Mahler or a number of other composers.  What we need is for Gurn to go "Haydn" on him. ;D
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: The new erato on March 27, 2014, 10:50:05 PM
He is en my top 10 (at least) and probably overall the composer I play the most.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: DavidW on March 28, 2014, 04:52:00 AM
Handel is in my top 10 as well.  If Gurn or MI were to push him I'm sure the thread would run for dozens of pages. :D
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Octave on March 28, 2014, 05:32:49 AM
I'd love to know of some excellent recordings of Handel's non-vocal music, as so much of what I have is vocal.  Some things I have discovered within the past year or two that I have liked very much:

1. Water/Fireworks Music by Jordi Savall (Alia Vox, sacd)
2. three discs of orchestral music (including Water/Fireworks) by Tafelmusik dir. Jeanne Lamon (in that Vivarte/Sony 6cd w/music also by Vivaldi, Purcell, Geminiani) [two of the editors of GFHandel.org picked these three to be among their 'desert island discs', fwiw]
3. chamber music box (CRD or Brilliant or Passionato...I think they are all the same program)
4. violin sonatas by Manze/Egarr (I need to look at some more recordings of these)
5. orchestral music by Pinnock (Archiv)
6. one of the Warner Handel Edition boxes with organ concertos by Koopman and keyboard music by Scott Ross and Olivier Baumont
7. keyboard suites 1720 by Ludger Remy (CPO, 2cd)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: North Star on March 28, 2014, 05:45:03 AM
I'd love to know of some excellent recordings of Handel's non-vocal music, as so much of what I have is vocal.  Some things I have discovered within the past year or two that I have liked very much:
Egarr & Academy of Ancient Music's Op.1-5, Manze & AoAM's Op. 6

...and this one , for the ouvertures ;)

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Rinaldo on March 28, 2014, 07:25:02 AM
I'm confused. Handel is not popular on GMG or something?

I've always thought the general (not necessarily GMG) consensus on Handel was "yeah, he was the popular guy of his day, while Bach's the real deal / Vivaldi a lot more fun".

I love Handel (if that wasn't obvious from my username) and even though I don't listen to his music as much nowadays, it's always a treat. Plenty of filler, obviously, but the peaks, even the overplayed ones, are tremendous. Give me Lentement from Water Music any day and I'll be moved every single time. Handel's everything I adore about baroque music - the playfulness, the instantly shifting moods, the MELODIES. Hey, even Mozart was a fan!
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 28, 2014, 07:38:39 AM
I know her Bach is loved on this board, so this might be something some want to snag. 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61nVfn4FuxL._SY300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 28, 2014, 07:45:45 AM
Another wonderful disc that is entering the tray:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/6133F9H9ZXL._SY300_.jpg)

Handel's chamber music is some of my favorite.  Harry sent me some Brilliant recordings many moons ago and those hooked me. 
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 28, 2014, 08:36:05 AM
Paul Lang writes in his introduction of his Handel bio (1963):

The regrettable and incredible fact is that the magnitude of Handel's genius and the avalanche of great music he wrote is scarcely suspected today.  True, he always is bracketed with Bach, but once the we remove the brackets and omit Messiah and two or three other works, we have precious little left.

and

His works have to be uncovered and washed free of the prejudices and falsification that cling to them.  Granted, no one can go through the entire work of Handel without admitting that a good deal of it has faded away, perhaps forever, and it is easy to suppose that he always owed his fame to one oratorio and half a dozen opera tunes that were turned into sacred songs.  But we know that much contained in these volumes possesses real life, and it is shocking how reluctant the musical world is to investigate.

Makes me think of Vivaldi a bit.   That is, once you dig past the "one hit" you find a lot of music worth having on the shelf.  I have also noticed this with Handel records that I flip through in bins.  Dozens of Messiahs and very little of other works.  Take away the Water Music and the Fireworks, and finding a piece of vinyl is actually quite a find!  Now, this was the days of vinyl.  But even in current times, do you find his recorded output after his war horses (three or so) fairly small?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: DavidW on March 28, 2014, 08:56:12 AM
But even in current times, do you find his recorded output after his war horses (three or so) fairly small?

More so than Vivaldi (you compared the two).  I have listened to many recordings of even esoteric concerti of Vivaldi.  I think that Handel's greatest contribution was in opera and oratorio.  But Handel like Lully and Scarlatti are underrepresented (as compared to Bach) even though their operas made a monumental impression during their time.  imo
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 28, 2014, 10:31:37 AM
I believe I have some Gardiner Handel around here somewhere with an OK postmark on it .  8)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 28, 2014, 10:36:43 AM
Point of the last post is some big names have taken on Handel, but seem
to stop short of in depth explorations.
Except for maybe Hogwood, who wrote a book on him.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: DavidW on March 28, 2014, 10:55:26 AM
I believe I have some Gardiner Handel around here somewhere with an OK postmark on it .  8)

And I some Italian Cantatas... ;D
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 28, 2014, 11:24:02 AM
And I some Italian Cantatas... ;D

Jacobs anyone?

Just got finished with this recording:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pCxSkDQrL._SY300_.jpg)

Always fun to read the notes on the history of both pieces.  I have to say that this Water Music definitely has a different sound than my Pinnock recording.  One reason why many of us enjoy multiple efforts on this board.  As I was looking through the notes on the period instrumentation (which they did a cruddy job of listing the musicians' weapons of choice), I noted for the Fireworks an instrument known as the "serpent" played by Douglas Yeo.  Pretty cool:

(http://www.berliozhistoricalbrass.org/yeo%20lander%20web.jpg)


(http://www.berliozhistoricalbrass.org/5x7%20serpent%20trio%20-%20small.jpg)
The American Serpent Players
Douglas Yeo, Craig Kridel, and Steven Silverstein

(http://www.berliozhistoricalbrass.org/images/monk-keyless-2259-100.jpg)

This one is known as the Anaconda!
(http://www.blackdiamondbrass.com/tbahist/dougyeoanaconda.jpg)

Got to get Dave's (Sonic's) take on this bad boy....though I am sure he has already addressed it in another thread. ;D  Not sure which made it onto this recording, but Yeo wrote a whole book on it and has a great page on the instrument!

(http://necmusic.edu/sites/default/files/images/DouglasYeoSerpentDVD170px.jpg)

http://www.yeodoug.com/serpent.html
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: (: premont :) on March 28, 2014, 11:52:54 AM
Paul Lang writes in his introduction of his Handel bio (1963):

The regrettable and incredible fact is that the magnitude of Handel's genius and the avalanche of great music he wrote is scarcely suspected today.  True, he always is bracketed with Bach, but once the we remove the brackets and omit Messiah and two or three other works, we have precious little left.

Makes me think of Vivaldi a bit.   That is, once you dig past the "one hit" you find a lot of music worth having on the shelf. 

I'd love to know of some excellent recordings of Handel's non-vocal music, as so much of what I have is vocal.  Some things I have discovered within the past year or two that I have liked very much:

1. Water/Fireworks Music by Jordi Savall (Alia Vox, sacd)
2. three discs of orchestral music (including Water/Fireworks) by Tafelmusik dir. Jeanne Lamon (in that Vivarte/Sony 6cd w/music also by Vivaldi, Purcell, Geminiani) [two of the editors of GFHandel.org picked these three to be among their 'desert island discs', fwiw]
3. chamber music box (CRD or Brilliant or Passionato...I think they are all the same program)
4. violin sonatas by Manze/Egarr (I need to look at some more recordings of these)
5. orchestral music by Pinnock (Archiv)
6. one of the Warner Handel Edition boxes with organ concertos by Koopman and keyboard music by Scott Ross and Olivier Baumont
7. keyboard suites 1720 by Ludger Remy (CPO, 2cd)

These CDs - I know almost all of them - are IMO some of the best of the available recordings of Händel´s instrumental music. Particularly I appreciate the Pinnock recordings and Remy´s harpsichord recordings. But they do not completely hide the fact, that Händels´s scores aren´t but drafts, upon which the performer was supposd to add stylish variations, passing notes and ornamentation. It must be assumed, that Händel himself was able to do that, but very few performers of to day are. They are just in the initial process of learning how to do, and I think this is the reason why Händel performances often have fallen to the ground. This is also a problem with Vivaldi e.g., but not with Bach, who notated almost everything he wanted the musician to play. So it is a bit unfair to judge Händels instrumental music by Bach´s standard, because Bach´s music is finished, while Händel´s music is unfinished.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 28, 2014, 11:57:56 AM
These CDs - I know almost all of them - are IMO some of the best of the available recordings of Händel´s instrumental music. Particularly I appreciate the Pinnock recordings and Remy´s harpsichord recordings. But they do not completely hide the fact, that Händels´s scores aren´t but drafts, upon which the performer was supposd to add stylish variations, passing notes and ornamentation. It must be assumed, that Händel himself was able to do that, but very few performers of to day are. They are just in the initial process of learning how to do, and I think this is the reason why Händel performances often have fallen to the ground. This is also a problem with Vivaldi e.g., but not with Bach, who notated almost everything he wanted the musician to play. So it is a bit unfair to judge Händels instrumental music by Bach´s standard, because Bach´s music is finished, while Händel´s music is unfinished.

Post of the day.  Love this kind of insight!
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Octave on March 28, 2014, 10:38:30 PM
[...]So it is a bit unfair to judge Händels instrumental music by Bach´s standard, because Bach´s music is finished, while Händel´s music is unfinished.

Thanks for this interesting response.  I'd certainly like to find some unusual performances of the keyboard music where such risks are taken.  I wonder if Blandine Rannou would fulfill the music in this regard?  I say this with memories of her GOLDBERG VARIATIONS [where I have heard so many other performances, hers seems to shine through as remarkable in a sense that I relate to what you are saying], though the comparison is probably unsuitable.

I am also interested in this music on anachronistic instruments, modern pianos etc.

Among all instruments and in addition to Scott Ross and Ludger Remy, I've tried Paul Wolfe, Keith Jarrett, Sviatoslav Richter (EMI/Yedang), Glenn Gould, Paul Nicholson.
I am keen to hear Lisa Smirnova, Borgstede, Egarr's brand new set, and especially Ottavio Dantone.

Aside on the serpent:
I am psyched to try out that Telarc Water/Fire disc with the serpent, Bogey.  I think my only experience with that strange instrument is from the improvising tubist (?) Michel Godard, who has made a number of recordings with the serpent as a primary or double, including some with the jazz oudist Rabih Abou-Khalil.  In fact, a GMGer once posted mention of a Godard record, some kind of Monteverdi experiment.  I am curious about it:


Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: HIPster on March 29, 2014, 07:09:29 AM
Cross-posted from the Recordings You are Considering thread:


Hear are a few Handel recordings I've been eyeing as of late:

Lautten Compagney




La Divina Armonia/Ghielmi


*Is the Pascaille label defunct?  Their recordings seems to be a) expensive in the States and b) go out of print in the blink of an eye. . .


Parley of Instruments/Holman




La Risonanza/Bonizzoni



*Ace amazon reviewer Mike Birman makes a very compelling case for this release and the entire series in general.  Our own Octave engages him in some most excellent and informative Handelian dialogue too (well worth the read for further recommendations).
Aside on the serpent:
I am psyched to try out that Telarc Water/Fire disc with the serpent, Bogey.  I think my only experience with that strange instrument is from the improvising tubist (?) Michel Godard, who has made a number of recordings with the serpent as a primary or double, including some with the jazz oudist Rabih Abou-Khalil.  In fact, a GMGer once posted mention of a Godard record, some kind of Monteverdi experiment.  I am curious about it:




Bows in Octave's direction. ;)

I posted that a while back in the Monteverdi thread. . .  I also have that high on my wish list, but have held off in favor of other Monteverdi releases (of which there have been many  :)).

I believe that Karl Henning posted some info on the serpent as a part of a museum collection he is affiliated with?  Karl, please help me out here!  Thanks.

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: North Star on March 29, 2014, 07:37:53 AM
I know it was a lack of coordination between brain and hand. I was thinking of my previous post and the Op. 1 and I wrote "recorder". I usually make this mistake because in Spanish both instruments have the same name.

That said, I was thinking of Preston.
No wonder I didn't find his recorder sonata recordings :)

Cross-posted from the Recordings You are Considering thread:

Hear are a few Handel recordings I've been eyeing as of late:

La Risonanza/Bonizzoni

*Ace amazon reviewer Mike Birman makes a very compelling case for this release and the entire series in general.  Our own Octave engages him in some most excellent and informative Handelian dialogue too (well worth the read for further recommendations).
Bows in Octave's direction. ;)
And Giordano Bruno (http://www.amazon.com/review/R309IH223O9NGI/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B002Y4Z582&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=5174&store=music) doesn't help our wallets, either.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Wakefield on March 29, 2014, 08:06:56 AM
No wonder I didn't find his recorder sonata recordings :)

... c'mon, after all I didn't say he was playing the ukelele...  ;)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: North Star on March 29, 2014, 08:14:16 AM
... c'mon, after all I didn't say he was playing the ukulele...  ;)
How about those concertos Vivaldi wrote for it.  0:)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Wakefield on March 29, 2014, 08:26:52 AM
How about those concertos Vivaldi wrote for it.  0:)
... yes, those concertos for mandolin are nice.

Also are fine those pieces for mandolin and piano composed by Beethoven. I have a HIP version played by Duilio Galfetti and Diego Fasolis (*).

Anyway, I ignore the specific differences between ukelele and mandolin.

(*) Available on Spotify.

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: North Star on March 29, 2014, 08:47:27 AM
... yes, those concertos for mandolin are nice.
Also are fine those pieces for mandolin and piano composed by Beethoven. I have a HIP version played by Duilio Galfetti and Diego Fasolis (*).
Anyway, I ignore the specific differences between ukelele and mandolin.
(*) Available on Spotify.
The Beethoven pieces I haven't heard, I should try them later (listening to guitar, theorbo, gamba, basse de viol and clavecin now :) )
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 29, 2014, 08:12:36 PM
I am a sucker for winds, so this cd found its way onto my shelf today:



OOP, but there are a few of these discs here and there. Not sure if these are the same as on the Regis disc that is also OOP.  From the net:

On returning to Halle Handel became a pupil of Zachau, the cathedral organist, who gave him a thorough training as a composer and as a performer on keyed instruments, the oboe and the violin. Six very good trios for two oboes and bass, which Handel wrote at the age of ten, are extant; and when he himself was shown them by an English admirer who had discovered them, he was much amused and remarked, "I wrote like the devil in those days, and chiefly for the oboe, which was my favorite instrument."
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Ken B on March 29, 2014, 08:20:59 PM
I am a sucker for winds, so this cd found its way onto my shelf today:



OOP, but there are a few of these discs here and there. Not sure if these are the same as on the Regis disc that is also OOP.  From the net:

On returning to Halle Handel became a pupil of Zachau, the cathedral organist, who gave him a thorough training as a composer and as a performer on keyed instruments, the oboe and the violin. Six very good trios for two oboes and bass, which Handel wrote at the age of ten, are extant; and when he himself was shown them by an English admirer who had discovered them, he was much amused and remarked, "I wrote like the devil in those days, and chiefly for the oboe, which was my favorite instrument."
I highly recommend Rota's quintet with flute. Not all winds. Carbotta.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Octave on March 30, 2014, 05:31:47 PM
*Ace amazon reviewer Mike Birman makes a very compelling case for this release and the entire series in general.  Our own Octave engages him in some most excellent Handelian dialogue too (well worth the read for further recommendations).

Well, on my end it was more Handelian badgering, but Mike was kind to offer me some suggestions.  I am still getting mileage out of those early (for me) discoveries, a couple of years on.   :)
I remember at least one or two GMGers recommending that HANDEL IN HAMBURG (Helios)....it's on my definite 'to acquire' list.

The Italian Cantatas series from Glossa is fantastic.  Unfortunately I can't remember if I liked that disc more than the others in the series.  I regret that the prices seem to have gotten even higher.  It is exquisite singing and playing.  I don't know if you are a fan of the Emma Kirkby + Chris Hogwood collaboration, but they have a disc of Italian cantatas that is also quite nice, reissued by Eloquence. 
I have heard only samples from Brilliant's recent Italian Cantatas series; they sounded very good, but for the moment that is not on the front burner for me.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 30, 2014, 06:11:53 PM
  I don't know if you are a fan of the Emma Kirkby + Chris Hogwood collaboration, but they have a disc of Italian cantatas that is also quite nice, reissued by Eloquence. 


Truth.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: DavidW on March 30, 2014, 07:26:13 PM
Truth.

That was the cd you shipped me!  That was you right?  Sharing the love for Kirkby?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Octave on March 30, 2014, 10:19:03 PM
1.
Bogey got rid of his Kirkby/Hogwood Handel disc!   ???
I support gifting as among the greatest of acts, but WTH.

2.
Bows in Octave's direction. ;)
Yes, thanks for mentioning that one!  Godard seems to be a versatile and adventurous musician, and I don't know that side of his work (the Monteverdi record) at all.  I wonder if it would make a good double-feature with that allegedly really cool ~jazzy Monteverdi record by Christina Pluhar & co. (the one on Virgin).
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: HIPster on March 31, 2014, 04:26:16 PM
This relatively recent Handel release by Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco is a total joy!



Has just the right blend of vocal and instrumental material.  Sound is vivid and lively in the best possible sense.

A disc I regularly return to.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on March 31, 2014, 04:30:28 PM
1.
Bogey got rid of his Kirkby/Hogwood Handel disc!   ???
I support gifting as among the greatest of acts, but WTH.



David's responsible for getting me on board with Bach.  Nothing I can give him to repay the debt I owe. :)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on June 23, 2014, 04:50:50 AM
More so than Vivaldi (you compared the two).  I have listened to many recordings of even esoteric concerti of Vivaldi.  I think that Handel's greatest contribution was in opera and oratorio.  But Handel like Lully and Scarlatti are underrepresented (as compared to Bach) even though their operas made a monumental impression during their time.  imo
I think there are about 30 or more complete recordings of Handel's op.3 and op.6 as well as of the more famous organ concerti. I doubt that many of Vivaldi's concerti, except for the ubiquitous 4 seasons have been recorded so many times. After Bach's Brandenburgs and Suites, 4 seasons and Fireworks/Water Handel's concerti grossi are probably the most frequently recorded baroque music, clearly better represented than anything by Telemann, Zelenka or Corelli.
There's no doubt that overall Handel's operas, oratorios and other vocal works are more important, but his concertos and also the 8 1720 harpsichord suites are certainly among the most important music of their time in the respective genres.

And by now most of this stuff is quite well represented on disc. There are more great recordings of op.6 or op.4 than there are of the "Chandos Anthems" (which is a pity, because the pieces are great, but there is hardly anything besides Christophers complete set which is good, but not great imo)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Henk on December 18, 2014, 04:07:19 AM
What is your favorite recoding of the Conceri Grossi, op. 6? Is there an ultimate recoding of it?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: The new erato on December 18, 2014, 04:16:21 AM
I have these and am happy with them:




But there are a plethora of recordings, with some superb ensembles.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on December 18, 2014, 04:56:14 AM
Of op.6 I have heard Scherchen, Marriner (Argo/Decca), Harnoncourt, Pommer, Hogwood, Manze and most recently de Vriend.

Probably Harnoncourt is still my favorite, although it is controversial and justifiedly so. It is the most strongly characterised of those, with a fairly large tutti, some little cadenzas added and very "rhetorical". This neglects the more elegant and "sprightly" aspects of the music. If you like Harnoncourt's "Paris" symphonies you will probably like that as well (although the recorded sound is not as great, but o.k. for early 80s).

Manze is the most chamber-like of the ones mentioned, very good in its way, but I could use a little more "pomp" and also diversity. Marriner is Marriner, very good for its vintage, but mostly elegant and sprightly. Pommer is a very odd mix between a fairly big-sized, conventional chamber orchestra and some historical mannerisms, it can be found very cheaply, but I would not really recommend it, although I find some movements interestingly done.
The "safest" choice would probably be Hogwoods. It is not hugely different from Manze, but a little bigger sounding, some broader tempi.
I was slightly disappointed with de Vriend's, because it had received some rave reviews, but would have to re-listen to be more specific. I found it somewhat "cold", although it is certainly interesting, e.g more embellishments than Hogwood.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: JCBuckley on December 18, 2014, 07:20:40 AM
What is your favorite recoding of the Conceri Grossi, op. 6? Is there an ultimate recoding of it?

I don't now about 'ultimate', but the Manze set is the one I most often return to.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Henk on December 18, 2014, 01:08:07 PM
I haven't evaluated the recordings I have enough. I think the Manze is a good one as well. I also have Dyer, that's a good set, I like the approach, but it lacks some fire. Orpheus ensemble was my first recording and I enjoyed it, but it was my first encounter to the works, so my opinion about it is biased. I need to relisten to that set. I think, this:

is a great set as well, full of passion.

I need to get the Hogwood. He also wrote a biography of Handel, I noticed.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on December 18, 2014, 01:32:27 PM
Hogwood also has a beautiful op.3 (not sure if this is as easily available as his op.6 twofer). This has the advantage of more interesting reconstruction of op.3/6 (a patchwork by the editor) and you get the organ concerto movement (the traditionally second of op.3/6) as a bonus. To my knowledge only Goodman/hyperion does a similar thing (but I have not heard his recording). The otherwise brilliant more recent op.3 with Egarr has an extemporised organ slow movement and the organ concerto movement.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Moonfish on February 23, 2015, 12:32:08 PM
It is Handel's birthday today (Feb 23)!!!!   8)
Bring out the wine, cheese and harpsichord!!!

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fa/George_Frideric_Handel_by_Balthasar_Denner.jpg/330px-George_Frideric_Handel_by_Balthasar_Denner.jpg)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: North Star on February 23, 2015, 12:47:37 PM
It is Handel's birthday today (Feb 23)!!!!   8)
Bring out the wine, cheese and harpsichord!!!
And don't forget the sopranos
https://www.youtube.com/v/uj3SQbz-DaQ
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Moonfish on July 03, 2015, 12:40:26 AM
Brilliant Classics is releasing a new compilation/iteration of their Handel box:

http://www.brilliantclassics.com/articles/h/handel-edition/ (http://www.brilliantclassics.com/articles/h/handel-edition/)

http://www.amazon.de/H%C3%A4ndel-Edition-Various/dp/B0106UFMP6 (http://www.amazon.de/H%C3%A4ndel-Edition-Various/dp/B0106UFMP6)

(http://www.brilliantclassics.com/ImageGen.ashx?image=/covers/5028421950501.jpg&width=200&height=200&constrain=true&pad=true&bgcolor=e9e9e9&altimage=/images/no_image.jpg)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Bogey on July 03, 2015, 06:08:30 AM
Brilliant Classics is releasing a new compilation/iteration of their Handel box:

http://www.brilliantclassics.com/articles/h/handel-edition/ (http://www.brilliantclassics.com/articles/h/handel-edition/)

http://www.amazon.de/H%C3%A4ndel-Edition-Various/dp/B0106UFMP6 (http://www.amazon.de/H%C3%A4ndel-Edition-Various/dp/B0106UFMP6)

(http://www.brilliantclassics.com/ImageGen.ashx?image=/covers/5028421950501.jpg&width=200&height=200&constrain=true&pad=true&bgcolor=e9e9e9&altimage=/images/no_image.jpg)

Thanks for the tip. 
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: king ubu on August 10, 2015, 03:26:19 AM
Another wonderful disc that is entering the tray:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/6133F9H9ZXL._SY300_.jpg)

Just ordered that one ... love me some Händel (or more than some, really!), but have hardly any chamber music of his so far.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 10, 2015, 05:22:22 AM
My favorite Handel chamber recordings are the Trios op.5 with La Stravaganza Salzburg (Intercord); this used to be really hard to find but now there are apparently several fairly cheap used offers at amazon.de (I am almost tempted to get another one as backup or for a gift.) It's the most luxuriously ornamented I have heard.

Another great mixed disc is on Zigzag with a French ensemble (Amandine Beyer plays the violin). Manze's disc is good but somewhat violin dominated.



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516nr6JonIL._SL500_.jpg)

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: king ubu on August 10, 2015, 10:07:06 PM
Thanks, I'll look for these!
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 13, 2015, 01:10:58 AM
Handel's chamber music is a mess.
There are three opus numbers but probably none of these publications was supervised by Handel. The trio sonatas op.2 and op.5 are all authentic works, although most of op.5 are arrangements from orchestral pieces (like ouvertures or ballett pieces from operas). My rec for opus 5 is Stravaganza Salzburg (with Rampe on harpsichord). They use traverse flute in two sonatas.

I do not have a strong rec for op.2 but London Baroque on harmonia mundi is pretty good (violins only) and 2-3 of those sonatas have also been frequently recorded with mixed instruments: flute/violin, recorder/violin or also with two oboes. (Especially of the latter version there are also modern instruments recordings, e.g. by Holliger)

There are 3 (so-called Dresden) trio sonatas, one of which HWV 394 E major is considered spurious, one HWV 392 F major very probably authentic and another one (the best and most famous one) HWV 393 g minor maybe authentic. The latter is included in the Zigzag discs shown above. The others I have only in the Brilliant/CRD recording with Holloway et al. They also have another one HWV 403 C major about which I cannot even tell the authenticity status.

There are 6 further trio sonatas HWV 380-85, reputedly composed by the teenaged Handel in Halle before 1700 but nowadays believed to be much later (1730s) and not by Handel. There is  recording on hyperion but I have not heard it.

About the other mess, op.1 (comprising most of the solo sonatas), maybe some later time.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: king ubu on August 13, 2015, 05:05:34 AM
Thanks a lot for all of this information, both here and in the other threads!
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: kishnevi on January 08, 2016, 07:10:40 PM
Bump for a crosspost from the main listening thread.


Just finished a first listen to one of Handel's greatest works.


The neglect of this is criminal.  As best I can tell, this is the only recording.  Fortunately, the performance is excellent, even the treble, Connor Burrowes, who sings Benjamin.

Must have for anyone interested in Handel's oratorios
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 08, 2016, 07:46:33 PM
Handel's oratorios are fantastic! And there are many which haven't gotten the notoriety they deserve. His first oratorio, Esther, is worth a listen.

I haven't heard Joseph and his Brethren so thanks for the heads up!



Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on January 09, 2016, 02:38:37 AM
Strictly speaking, his first oratorios would be the two italian pieces "La Resurrezione" and "Trionfo del tempo ed il disinganno" written when Handel was in his early 20s in Italy.

They are both fantastic pieces but rather different from the later English oratorios: Very "Italian", that is brilliant, virtuoso solo singing (also some virtuoso passages for instruments, the short sinfonia from the "Trionfo" was probably one of the first pieces with a concertante keyboard (organ) ever), hardly any choral passages.

An early German language "Johannespassion" was almost certainly not written by Handel; the "Brockes-Passion" from ca. 1716-18 is an uneven (overlong) piece but worth a listen for some strong sections, some of which were also recycled for the earliest English oratorios like Esther and/or Athalia. Bach had a copy of the Brockes-Passion and may have conducted it in Leipzig. Some of the libretto of Bach's St. John's borrows from the Brockes-Text and the first vocal piece of the Handel "Von den Stricken meiner Sünden" might remind one of a similar aria in the (later) Bach St. John.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: The new erato on January 09, 2016, 02:42:21 AM
Strictly speaking, his first oratorios would be the two italian pieces "La Resurrezione" and "Trionfo del tempo ed il disinganno" written when Handel was in his early 20s in Italy.

They are both fantastic pieces but rather different from the later English oratorios: Very "Italian", that is brilliant, virtuoso solo singing (also some virtuoso passages for instruments, the short sinfonia from the "Trionfo" was probably one of the first pieces with a concertante keyboard (organ) ever), hardly any choral passages.
As a longsuffering Handelian I prefer him in an Italian mode, and those two you mention are my favorite Handel oratorios.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on January 09, 2016, 04:53:33 AM
I think that some of the later more choral-dominated oratorios are deservedly famous, even when the overall dramaturgy might sag sometimes. E.g. "Solomon" does not really have much action to speak of (except the "harlot scene"), but the choruses are simply amazing and it is funny when Handel almost self-ironically lets Solomon give the Queen of Sheba an entertainment with 4? choral pieces each depicting a different affect/mood.

But the early italian pieces certainly deserve to be better known, although there are fortunately pretty good recordings around.
Maybe Handel basically copies the style of Alessandro Scarlatti and other older italian composers (whereas the specific stylistic fusion of the 1730-50s oratorios is his more individual "voice") but they are brilliantly done and lots of fun. And the same is true for the shorter Italian cantatas as well as the Dixit Dominus (and a few other motets/psalm settings from the Italian period).
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: The new erato on January 09, 2016, 05:52:04 AM
As a longsuffering Handelian I prefer him in an Italian mode, and those two you mention are my favorite Handel oratorios.
When speaking of his Italian mode, I am of course including his operas! Though I very much agree with your latest post.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: jlaurson on June 24, 2016, 04:26:24 AM

Latest on Forbes.com:

Classical CD Of The Week: Handel At His Most English (http://bit.ly/CDoftheWeek017)


If “no plot, no characters, no dialogue” (Ruth Smith) doesn’t sound like a promising
premise for an entertaining musical work, think again: We listen to the music primarily
as it is (as we do with many very popular but daft operas and their excuses of a plot),
but if we chose to follow the text or listen carefully, we find ourselves immersed in an
enchanted literary world – very distant from ours, but beguiling...

(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/06/Forbes_Classica-CD-of-the-Week_SIGNUM_Handel_lallegro_McCreesh_1200-1200x469.jpg)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/06/23/classical-cd-of-the-week-handel-at-his-most-english/#2c0582f8343d (http://bit.ly/CDoftheWeek017)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: jlaurson on September 19, 2016, 01:37:09 PM

latest on Forbes:

Emmanuelle Haïm Can Handel The Vienna Philharmonic
(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/09/Forbes-Classical-Emmanuelle-Haim_Vienna-Philharmonic_Handel_Theater-an-der-Wien_Jens-F-Laurson-1200x469.jpg)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/09/19/emmanuelle-haim-can-handel-the-vienna-philharmonic/#7a9ac3e11d2e (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/09/19/emmanuelle-haim-can-handel-the-vienna-philharmonic/#7a9ac3e11d2e)

Unusual and in a way typical for the Theater-an-der-Wien, which likes to think outside the box.
Emmanuelle Haïm, the third woman[1] to ever conduct the Vienna Philharmonic (or at least a
small, baroque-ensemble sized section thereof), had conducted the same George Frideric Handel
program at the Lucerne Festival and repeated it here: A first half of orchestral works and the solo
cantata Il delirio amoroso (HWV 99) in the second half.

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: André on March 04, 2017, 05:15:27 PM
Ok, 'fess up time.

I own thousands of cds, and a small but representative Handel selection (some 40 discs, mostly vocal).

But no Royal Fireworks Music  ???

Not that I'm unfamiliar with the piece, far from it. But, like many such works that have (over the years) come in all kinds of various guises (in this case: MI, PI, gaudy, strict, joyful, noisy, mellifluous, exploding with the sound of timpani, drowned under a 24-strong bassoon complement etc), I never got around to settle for a particular approach.

I have noticed that in recent years some italian baroque ensembles have recorded it. My curiosity is piqued.

I would welcome recommendations that go beyond the tried and true (Gardiner, Leppard, Pinnock - yaaawn).

Any suggestions ?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: North Star on March 04, 2017, 05:21:29 PM
Not that I really know this repertoire well, but Savall is surely worth consideration.

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on March 05, 2017, 01:09:52 AM
Savall's is great.
Of the wind, brass, drums version I only have Pinnock's (and have not listened to it for ages as I prefer the version including strings).



I have not heard Zefiro's (as far as I know the same recording appeared on Arcana and dhm) but this is probably one of the "wild italian" readings and their disc with the water music (+ Telemann's Hamburger Ebb und Flut) is great and I highly recommend it, it might even beat the classic Musica Antiqua Telemann recording.
Another one with a great coupling (concerti a due cori, IMO better than the Fireworks and Water musics and far less known) is Tafelmusik/Sony although this is certainly more restrained than Zefiro and more in the Pinnock/Gardiner vein. I actually recommend it more for the concerti a due cori (and it has the best cover after Savall's ;)) but it might have been superseded by Zefiro as well.

I still keep Leppard's because to me it seems more pompous than any of the others I have.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: HIPster on March 05, 2017, 11:30:13 AM
Savall's is great.

I have not heard Zefiro's (as far as I know the same recording appeared on Arcana and dhm) but this is probably one of the "wild italian" readings and their disc with the water music (+ Telemann's Hamburger Ebb und Flut) is great and I highly recommend it, it might even beat the classic Musica Antiqua Telemann recording.
Another one with a great coupling (concerti a due cori, IMO better than the Fireworks and Water musics and far less known) is Tafelmusik/Sony although this is certainly more restrained than Zefiro and more in the Pinnock/Gardiner vein. I actually recommend it more for the concerti a due cori (and it has the best cover after Savall's ;)) but it might have been superseded by Zefiro as well.

I still keep Leppard's because to me it seems more pompous than any of the others I have.

Jo498 picks some of my own recommendations.

I'll add this very fine Italian group to the mix:



This is the recording I reach for the most for the Water Music, often just letting the Fireworks play (some of my least favorite Handel).

Zefiro's Handel/Telemann/Handel program is very effective.  A close second for me in the Water Music category.

I think Paul Dombrecht's group has recorded the Fireworks, perhaps? 

Cheers.  :)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on March 05, 2017, 12:00:53 PM
Yes, Dombrecht has it also coupled with two concerti a due cori. The disc is also found in an older Vanguard incarnation as "Ceremonial Music". This is pretty good but I sold it in a phase of slimming down the collection, slightly preferring Tafelmusik and Savall. And I am not all that fond of the Fireworks either, except for La paix which is one my favorite pieces ever, and furthermore I usually find the HIP recordings too slimmed down. As I said above, that's why I still keep Leppard's around. (Marriner's is also not pompous enough despite modern instruments.)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on May 23, 2018, 02:39:37 PM
(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F04%2FForbes_Classical-CD-of-the-Week_HANDEL_Imeneo_Europa-Galante_Biondi_GLOSSA_Classical-Critic-Jens-F-Laurson-960.jpg)
Classical CD Of The Week: Imeneo - A Case Of Lightly Pleasing, Pirate-Hunting Handel
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/05/23/classical-cd-of-the-week-imeneo-a-case-of-pirate-hunting-lightly-pleasing-handel/#362d48a06298 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/05/23/classical-cd-of-the-week-imeneo-a-case-of-pirate-hunting-lightly-pleasing-handel/#362d48a06298)

Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: milk on January 10, 2019, 04:14:43 AM
Another wonderful disc that is entering the tray:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/6133F9H9ZXL._SY300_.jpg)

Handel's chamber music is some of my favorite.  Harry sent me some Brilliant recordings many moons ago and those hooked me.
I've a hard time getting into this, partly because of the way it's recorded. Are there any other recommended recordings of this? HIP ones?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on January 10, 2019, 04:32:25 AM
Christie/Kurosaki is more intimate and has the organ in a few pieces (I think it skips some of the dubious works). One caveat is that the original edition is copy protected (one of a handful of such disks that found their way into my collection) but this might not affect more recent editions.
The one on Brilliant (crd) is rather minimalist and sometimes a little dry. I have not heard any others, except for the odd sonata in a mixed anthology.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: milk on January 10, 2019, 05:15:50 AM
Christie/Kurosaki is more intimate and has the organ in a few pieces (I think it skips some of the dubious works). One caveat is that the original edition is copy protected (one of a handful of such disks that found their way into my collection) but this might not affect more recent editions.
The one on Brilliant (crd) is rather minimalist and sometimes a little dry. I have not heard any others, except for the odd sonata in a mixed anthology.
Thanks!
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on January 10, 2019, 05:33:51 AM
This one has a new cover, so I'd expect that it  is without copy protection. It has 7 sonatas, some of dubious authenticity.



This is the one reissued on Brilliant. It has only 4 violin sonatas, apparently the only ones certainly by Handel and certainly for violin. It is so minimalist that in one sonata they play with violin and cello only, no keyboard. (I eventually got rid of it, only kept two discs with trio sonatas from the brilliant edition).



My favorite mixed chamber disc with Handel is this one, it includes one violin sonata d minor 359a.


Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: kyjo on January 10, 2019, 10:43:50 AM
I heard Zadok the Priest on the radio recently and had forgotten what a stirring work it is!
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 06, 2019, 10:57:20 PM
Arguably a new Reference Recording. Not "The Best"... but an excellent standard against which to judge others. (If one wanted to judge in the first place, I suppose.  ;D)

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EDuqtkeXkAAm72g?format=jpg&name=medium)

A (Very!) Fine #Messiah From Václav Luks and Collegium 1704

https://classicstoday.com/review/a-fine-messiah-from-vaclav-luks-and-collegium-1704/ (https://classicstoday.com/review/a-fine-messiah-from-vaclav-luks-and-collegium-1704/)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on September 08, 2019, 09:18:33 AM
I'm learning the Sarabande from his D minor harpsichord suite. Very nice piece.

I heard Zadok the Priest on the radio recently and had forgotten what a stirring work it is!
Indeed a killer piece! Almost enough to sway me to Monarchism! :P
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on September 08, 2019, 11:08:22 AM
In European soccer they arranged a bit of Zadok as the incidental music for the "Champions league". Quite ludicrous, but it still retains some of the power of the original.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 19, 2019, 09:43:22 PM
Latest on ClassicsToday:

Filling In The Gaps: Handel’s Glorious Occasional Apple-Polish Oratorio
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EE02NaPXsAcN8tT?format=jpg&name=medium) (https://t.co/544rYwc5pL?amp=1)

(Insider content, sound clips)



Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on August 25, 2020, 03:48:59 PM
400 pages for Havergal Brian and 5 pages for Handel is a crime...  :o

... anyway, I need some more Handel in my life... particularly interested at the moment in his choral music. I love the Coronation Anthems; I finally ordered a Messiah (Pearlman/Boston Baroque recording, which sounded great to my ears)—what are some other great choral works by Handel? Oratorios, cantatas, whatever you've got, I'll take it. Suggested recordings would also be appreciated.

I also really want to hear more of the concerti, especially the organ concertos. Who has made a good recording of these?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 25, 2020, 11:15:20 PM
There are lots of recordings of the organ concerti and while mostly comparably "light" music, they are hard to completely ruin. Sometimes acoustics are odd because of the church space and of course tastes in organs differ. I think that they are generally better with a small organ than with a huge church organ. Except for one concerto they are manualiter only and have also been recorded on piano and harpsichord.
My favorite is probably Harnoncourt/Tachezi but this is missing one or two concerti and two others are somewhat hard to find. If you find the twofer with op.4+7, I'd recommmend that. Koopman is complete and was available in several cheap versions, agains sometimes not all three discs.

The best orchestral collection are the concerti grossi op.6. Again dozens of recordings are available. My favorites are Harnoncourt and Hogwood.

The choral/vocal works are endless. They cover a wide range from anthems to quasi-operatic scenes with biblical or secular themes. Closest to the coronation anthems as representation music are probably the Dettingen and Utrecht Te Deum settings. The so-called Chandos anthems are beautiful and underrated and -recorded are about a dozen more intimate semi-private church pieces. (There is only one complete recording with Christophers on Chandos.) There is a bunch of Latin church music from his early years in Italy of which the Dixit Dominus is not unjustifiedly the most famous, a very gripping dramatic piece. Of the later English oratorios Israel in Egypt, Solomon and Belshazzar are maybe the most choir-centered. Others like Semele or Hercules are operas in all but name and language (but unlike the Italian operas they all have a bunch of choral passages as well).
Admittedly, some of these often fairly long (2-3 hours) pieces can be uneven (and especially older recordings are sometimes slightly abridged) but they all contain vast amounts of impressive music.

For starters, I'd try Dixit dominus (Minkowski or get Fasolis with Dettingen Te Deum to get this as well), Dettingen Te Deum and Jubilate (Preston on Archiv), Israel in Egypt (Parrott, in any case make sure to get the 3 part version), Solomon (Gardiner (slightly abridged) or McCreesh), Saul (Jacobs or Gardiner), Hercules (Gardiner or Minkowski)

And this is not even starting on the actual operas or the >100 Italian secular cantatas.



Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on August 26, 2020, 01:31:14 AM
There are lots of recordings of the organ concerti and while mostly comparably "light" music, they are hard to completely ruin. Sometimes acoustics are odd because of the church space and of course tastes in organs differ. I think that they are generally better with a small organ than with a huge church organ. Except for one concerto they are manualiter only and have also been recorded on piano and harpsichord.
My favorite is probably Harnoncourt/Tachezi but this is missing one or two concerti and two others are somewhat hard to find. If you find the twofer with op.4+7, I'd recommmend that. Koopman is complete and was available in several cheap versions, agains sometimes not all three discs.

The best orchestral collection are the concerti grossi op.6. Again dozens of recordings are available. My favorites are Harnoncourt and Hogwood.

The choral/vocal works are endless. They cover a wide range from anthems to quasi-operatic scenes with biblical or secular themes. Closest to the coronation anthems as representation music are probably the Dettingen and Utrecht Te Deum settings. The so-called Chandos anthems are beautiful and underrated and -recorded are about a dozen more intimate semi-private church pieces. (There is only one complete recording with Christophers on Chandos.) There is a bunch of Latin church music from his early years in Italy of which the Dixit Dominus is not unjustifiedly the most famous, a very gripping dramatic piece. Of the later English oratorios Israel in Egypt, Solomon and Belshazzar are maybe the most choir-centered. Others like Semele or Hercules are operas in all but name and language (but unlike the Italian operas they all have a bunch of choral passages as well).
Admittedly, some of these often fairly long (2-3 hours) pieces can be uneven (and especially older recordings are sometimes slightly abridged) but they all contain vast amounts of impressive music.

For starters, I'd try Dixit dominus (Minkowski or get Fasolis with Dettingen Te Deum to get this as well), Dettingen Te Deum and Jubilate (Preston on Archiv), Israel in Egypt (Parrott, in any case make sure to get the 3 part version), Solomon (Gardiner (slightly abridged) or McCreesh), Saul (Jacobs or Gardiner), Hercules (Gardiner or Minkowski)

And this is not even starting on the actual operas or the >100 Italian secular cantatas.

Awesome! Thanks for the very helpful post. I'm going to seek out Dixit Dominus (which I've heard before, but forgot about) and possibly one or two of those oratorios. As for the organ concertos I may let price/availability guide me at this point with how many recordings are out there.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: 71 dB on August 26, 2020, 03:38:24 AM
400 pages for Havergal Brian and 5 pages for Handel is a crime...  :o

Perhaps not a crime, but Handel is strangely overlooked in general.

... anyway, I need some more Handel in my life... particularly interested at the moment in his choral music. I love the Coronation Anthems; I finally ordered a Messiah (Pearlman/Boston Baroque recording, which sounded great to my ears)—what are some other great choral works by Handel? Oratorios, cantatas, whatever you've got, I'll take it. Suggested recordings would also be appreciated.

I also really want to hear more of the concerti, especially the organ concertos. Who has made a good recording of these?

I am hopeless in recommending recordings. I have tons of Naxos, McGegan (Susanna), Minkowski (Hercules), Solti (Messiah), Pinnock (Belsazar) ... and DVDs (most importantly Giulio Cesare/Christie/Glyndebourne!). McGegan (on Harmonia Mundi) is pretty convincing. Nowadays I am into Handel played on piano, 2 Naxos discs by Philip Edward Fisher. Danielle de Niese's arias CD on Decca is excellent... ...somehow I am not into Handel's cantatas that much, don't know why. Op. 6 is of course essential Handel. I have The Academy of Ancient Music on Harmonia Mundi. For Choral music Dettingen De Teum/Zadok the Priest/Organ Concerto 14 on Hyperion is solid. Perhaps what you are looking for?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 26, 2020, 04:08:51 AM
To be fair, I think there are one or two other Handel threads (maybe with a focus on particular sets of pieces) in the forum, but I am too lazy to search for them.

I do not have these recordings and I found them strange and not quite to my taste but Kirschnereit on cpo and Schirmer on Berlin? have recorded all or most of the Organ concerti on piano. Apparently some people are really fond of them.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on August 26, 2020, 01:29:02 PM
@71db.  That Hyperion disc does look good, but I just pulled the trigger on Simon Preston's Dettingen Te Deum and don't want to double up just yet. Too bad Hyperion releases can't be sampled online or I'd have had to give more thought to the competition.

@Jo, Handel "piano" concertos sounds interesting—I do love the Richter/Gavrilov recordings of the Suites on piano—but I'll likely stick to the organ versions for now.

Israel in Egypt sounds really good. If I get into both it and Messiah, will I be totally burnt out? Or are they quite distinguishable from one another?
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: André on August 26, 2020, 04:05:07 PM
Israel and Messiah are as different as could be. I took to Messiah instantly, decades ago. It took me a long time to appreciate Israel in Egypt.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 26, 2020, 10:27:20 PM
Both Messiah and Israel are both actually quite untypical as neither has acting persons and Messiah really has no action but only reflexion/commentary. Israel in Egypt has some of the most impressive choruses but overall it is a very uneven piece that was crammed together in a hurry with lots of borrowings from Handel himself or other composers. The whole first part (that is missing in some versions) is a re-texting of the funeral ode, thus turned into a lament of the Israelites for Joseph. Nevertheless because since Haydn people were usually most impressed by the choral music, I think it is not a bad piece to try.

If one wanted to classify the oratorios, it is roughly as follows (not mentioning each and every piece)

early Italian: La resurrezione, Il trionfo del tempo ed el disinganno - basically Italian opera/pastoral cantata with hardly any choral parts
German: Brockes-Passion (the attributed early St. John's passion is almost certainly not by Handel)
English with biblical theme and "acting roles": Esther, Saul, Solomon, Samson, Judas Maccabaeus, Joshua, Joseph and his brethren, Jephtha (Theodora belongs here, but it is the only one with a subject from early christian legend, not the bible)
without "acting roles: Messiah, Israel in Egypt
English "allegorical Ode", Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, Alexander's Feast, L'allegro, il moderato, il penseroso, Choice of Hercules
English "unstaged opera" with subject from classical antiquity: Acis and Galathea, Hercules, Semele

I think the Brockespassion can be safely skipped for a beginner but if you want to get an impression of the breadth, you could get one piece from each of the other groups although the early italian style could as well be covered by an anthology with a bunch of cantatas, especially if you like female solo singing.
Saul might be the most dramatic and varied of the biblical oratorios.
The very last group comprises also very different pieces. Acis is small scale and pastoral (of the secular pieces it must have been one of the most popular after Handel'S death as both Mozart and Mendelssohn re-orchestrated it for performances), Hercules is a dark psychological drama (not at all about the heroic deeds of Hercules but basically a jealousy tragedy), Semele maybe the most operatic of them (it has been successfully staged, check it out on youtube or elsewhere, at least snippets should be there.)
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: 71 dB on August 27, 2020, 02:29:54 AM
I have the following oratorios/operas:

Acis and Galatea
Athalia
Belsazar
Deborah
Giulio Cesare
Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verità
Saul
Semele
Teseo
The Messiah (two recordings)
Theodora

I don't know Israel in Egypt. Handel has got so many of these it's not easy to explore them all, especially as I prefer operas on DVD/Blu-ray rather than CD and these tend to be insanely pricy.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on August 27, 2020, 02:15:30 PM
Both Messiah and Israel are both actually quite untypical as neither has acting persons and Messiah really has no action but only reflexion/commentary. Israel in Egypt has some of the most impressive choruses but overall it is a very uneven piece that was crammed together in a hurry with lots of borrowings from Handel himself or other composers. The whole first part (that is missing in some versions) is a re-texting of the funeral ode, thus turned into a lament of the Israelites for Joseph. Nevertheless because since Haydn people were usually most impressed by the choral music, I think it is not a bad piece to try.

If one wanted to classify the oratorios, it is roughly as follows (not mentioning each and every piece)

early Italian: La resurrezione, Il trionfo del tempo ed el disinganno - basically Italian opera/pastoral cantata with hardly any choral parts
German: Brockes-Passion (the attributed early St. John's passion is almost certainly not by Handel)
English with biblical theme and "acting roles": Esther, Saul, Solomon, Samson, Judas Maccabaeus, Joshua, Joseph and his brethren, Jephtha (Theodora belongs here, but it is the only one with a subject from early christian legend, not the bible)
without "acting roles: Messiah, Israel in Egypt
English "allegorical Ode", Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, Alexander's Feast, L'allegro, il moderato, il penseroso, Choice of Hercules
English "unstaged opera" with subject from classical antiquity: Acis and Galathea, Hercules, Semele

I think the Brockespassion can be safely skipped for a beginner but if you want to get an impression of the breadth, you could get one piece from each of the other groups although the early italian style could as well be covered by an anthology with a bunch of cantatas, especially if you like female solo singing.
Saul might be the most dramatic and varied of the biblical oratorios.
The very last group comprises also very different pieces. Acis is small scale and pastoral (of the secular pieces it must have been one of the most popular after Handel'S death as both Mozart and Mendelssohn re-orchestrated it for performances), Hercules is a dark psychological drama (not at all about the heroic deeds of Hercules but basically a jealousy tragedy), Semele maybe the most operatic of them (it has been successfully staged, check it out on youtube or elsewhere, at least snippets should be there.)

I appreciate these suggestion. I will try and check out a handful of these, maybe after looking into the synopses of what they're about. You must be a pretty big Handel fan, then? It seems he is often unfairly neglected here and elsewhere. It would seem that he's a major, extremely prolific composer of high consistency. Everything I've heard of his has been great!
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 27, 2020, 11:40:21 PM
I had a bunch of the more famous works (like Messiah, Concerti grossi) long before but then I was on a huge Handel binge ca. 2002-7 or so but I have to admit that I bought more operas and oratorios than I could really digest quickly enough and later on my interest waned somewhat. So there are quite a few I have never heard or only once. But yes, I am pretty big fan. With an abundance of recordings in the last 20 years or so one can hardly claim that Handel is underrated in general, but this forum here certainly has a different focus. And most similar internet places also tend to focus on (late) romantic and (early) modern orchestral music, sometimes with a minor on piano or opera. On a German language forum there are a bunch of Handelians who regularly attend the Göttingen or Halle festivals and have a much better and deeper knowledge than I do, but they are also only about 2-3 people.
He was extremely prolific but he could be uneven. This is often due to circumstance with editors publishing stuff that was not really ready for publication or arranged by the publisher or not even by Handel. (This concerns mostly some chamber and keyboard music.) Or that a new piece had to be ready within a few weeks, so some parts are basically pastich from other works (by Handel or someone else) and also that a full scale oratorio/opera had to be at least around 2 hours, better 3. (Alexander's Feast at about 90 min. was not a full evening's entertainment.)

A very attractive section that is still not so well covered and well known, are the early italian cantatas. They are shortish (typically 15-25 min.) and often like miniature opera scenes. So one gets great music without sitting through 2+ hours of opera or oratorio.


Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on August 28, 2020, 02:18:39 AM
^I have one disc of Italian cantatas, w/ Emma Kirkby, Hogwood & the AAM. It's pretty good; I ought to spend more time with the music.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Mandryka on August 28, 2020, 02:48:51 AM


I also really want to hear more of the concerti, especially the organ concertos. Who has made a good recording of these?

 I have one recording, an oldie, with Ernst Ansermet and Jeanne Demessieux. Just two of them.  It's nice, a pleasure to hear  -- I'll let you have it if you want, the sound is fine. I think the organ concertos were written to entertain the groundlings in the intervals of the operas.

I assume you've heard the concerti grossi. There's a similarly uninformed recording which I love, or rather loved the last time I heard it maybe more than 10 years ago, with Herman Scherchen in the driving seat.

I've never bothered with recordings of the operas, and I've seen two live -- the Peter Seller's production of Theodora (which is on DVD I think) and Acis and Galathea in a Jonathan Miller production  -- Acis and Galathea is a hoot, great fun.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 28, 2020, 06:14:16 AM
^I have one disc of Italian cantatas, w/ Emma Kirkby, Hogwood & the AAM. It's pretty good; I ought to spend more time with the music.
That's a nice disc as well. The Zadori on Brilliant (orig. Hungaroton) has some that are a bit more varied and dramatic (Delirio amoroso, maybe the most famous of them, Ero e Leandro and Agrippina). To be fair, while very good music, similar cantatas were written by the dozen by the somewhat older and contemporary Italians like Alessando Scarlatti, Caldara or Bononcini. And while Handel's have been the most successfully reanimated operas from the high baroque (only the few by Rameau come close, most of the others that have been tried have not really entered the repertoire) his real historical achievement is the English (or later also German) language oratorio, serious, popular and monumental that set the stage for similar works from Haydn to Elgar.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on August 28, 2020, 03:00:47 PM
That's a nice disc as well. The Zadori on Brilliant (orig. Hungaroton) has some that are a bit more varied and dramatic (Delirio amoroso, maybe the most famous of them, Ero e Leandro and Agrippina). To be fair, while very good music, similar cantatas were written by the dozen by the somewhat older and contemporary Italians like Alessando Scarlatti, Caldara or Bononcini. And while Handel's have been the most successfully reanimated operas from the high baroque (only the few by Rameau come close, most of the others that have been tried have not really entered the repertoire) his real historical achievement is the English (or later also German) language oratorio, serious, popular and monumental that set the stage for similar works from Haydn to Elgar.

Some call Handel the greatest opera composer of all time, but I suppose this is either hyperbole or just a niche thing from people who listen strictly to pre-classical music, which I can respect. I have long been curious about the world of baroque opera but I don't know that I'm ready to dive into it yet.

@Mandryka, I think I'll have to pass on that as I have a distaste for both Ansermet and Scherchen, though I do appreciate the offer. As for the operas, there are so many that I have no idea where to start. I know there's Giulio Cesare in Egitto that's supposed to be good, though it's quite massive. I don't know if I want to try and hear the whole thing yet.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 28, 2020, 10:47:33 PM
The opera seria was really dead, I mean it already smelled funny in Handel's time (with Gay/Pepusch's Beggar's opera being a successful parody), that's why he invented and focussed on English oratorio in the last ca. 20 years of his life. Even after the rediscovery of Monteverdi in the 1930s and the foundation of Handel festivals in Germany, the opera of Handel's time still had a bad rap and was hardly performed at all or often arranged (Caesar as a baritone etc.). Common opinion was still that Monteverdi had invented musical drama and then opera had degenerated into a circus for castrati and divas until Gluck and Mozart "rescued" it.
Now the last 30-40 years brought the re-establishment of high baroque (i.e. not Monteverdi) opera on stage, not merely on recordings, in a stable and growing niche and even in the standard repertoire although there are of course still many opera buffs who don't care about it (but then presumeably also a few who became sick of (late) romantic opera and prefer baroque).
Julius Caesar, Rinaldo and Alcina would be my recommendations of the operas, they have a good mix of drama and "big hits". But I admit that I usually also do not have the patience to listen to whole operas (but this goes for most operas, not merely baroque).
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on August 29, 2020, 04:07:15 AM
The opera seria was really dead, I mean it already smelled funny in Handel's time (with Gay/Pepusch's Beggar's opera being a successful parody), that's why he invented and focussed on English oratorio in the last ca. 20 years of his life. Even after the rediscovery of Monteverdi in the 1930s and the foundation of Handel festivals in Germany, the opera of Handel's time still had a bad rap and was hardly performed at all or often arranged (Caesar as a baritone etc.). Common opinion was still that Monteverdi had invented musical drama and then opera had degenerated into a circus for castrati and divas until Gluck and Mozart "rescued" it.
Now the last 30-40 years brought the re-establishment of high baroque (i.e. not Monteverdi) opera on stage, not merely on recordings, in a stable and growing niche and even in the standard repertoire although there are of course still many opera buffs who don't care about it (but then presumeably also a few who became sick of (late) romantic opera and prefer baroque).
Julius Caesar, Rinaldo and Alcina would be my recommendations of the operas, they have a good mix of drama and "big hits". But I admit that I usually also do not have the patience to listen to whole operas (but this goes for most operas, not merely baroque).

Kind of an amazing story, no? What other composer has totally reinvented himself, later in life, after a long and successful flourishing in one genre, as a master of another completely different, more contemporary genre and style, resulting in even more success...? Accordingly, Handel was probably the only Baroque master to die wealthy, famous and well respected. Fascinating.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: 71 dB on August 29, 2020, 06:38:33 AM
Handel started composing oratorios instead of operas because he got fed up with arrogant diva-like singers and their crazy demands.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on August 30, 2020, 03:53:52 PM
Handel started composing oratorios instead of operas because he got fed up with arrogant diva-like singers and their crazy demands.

Hmm... Somehow I doubt that worked for him. The way I see it, a diva is a diva whether she's singing Italian opera seria or English sacred oratorio.

Favorite recordings of the Harpsichord Suites? I love my Gavrilov/Richter tag-team 2CD with the first eight (how many are there in total?), but that is of course piano. I have another disc by Anthony Newman on Sony, but I'm afraid I really dislike the sound of his instrument (maybe someone could tell me why...? I don't know much about harpsichords, but this one just sounds abrasive to my ears) as well as his zippy technique. Thoughts on Paul Nicholson on Hyperion? It can be had for cheap.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on August 30, 2020, 10:52:52 PM
If one looks at the details, Handel actually composed a few oratorios during the time when he was still mainly focussing on operas, e.g. Esther. This changed in the mid/late 1730s; from then on oratorios dominated and this was also related to economic success.
There were fewer divas (and I think hardly any castrati) in oratorios whereas in a typical opera seria one had at least two each top-billed castrati and women (who sometimes made more money from the venure than Handel himself did), so despite the choir and often a bit larger orchestra, it was cheaper and one saved also the stage gear etc.

I also found Newman a bit on the overly too fast and "shallow" side. The Nicholson has the advantage of the 6 fugues but it errs a bit in the opposite direction of being maybe not playful enough.

It is hardly possible to answer how many keyboard suites there are. The 8 from 1720s (426-433) are the only really "authorised" set where Handel himself had taken part in preparing the edition. Apparently he at least did not intervene in the publication of the 1733 (434-442) set containing 7 suites and 2 Chaconnes (the famous one 435 and another huge rambling one with 62 variations). But this later set was probably thrown together by the publisher, who added a minuet in g minor to the first B flat major suite that has nothing to do with the piece etc. Almost all of these pieces are actually from a much earlier time, many of them having been composed when Handel was around or not even 20. Then there are two small suites composed for Princess Louisa (447 and 452). Then there are about 10 more suites, or fragments of suites, most of them from a very early time as well as dozens of short pieces (and many more dozens attributed in late 18th century publications that are probably not by Handel).

Richter/Gavrilov play the 8 from 1720, 6 from 1733 (the Chaconnes and the 434 are missing) and the two late ones for the princess.

It's not complete, but for the best pieces of the 1733 set I think the Archiv disc with Pinnock (once re-issued in a midprice series) is very good. Generally, anything beyond the 1720 and the Chaconne are not easy to find although there are recordings. E.g. Sophie Yates or the one on Brilliant.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: vers la flamme on September 01, 2020, 01:28:56 AM
Nice, I didn't know Pinnock recorded any of them. Going to check that out.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Jo498 on September 01, 2020, 02:34:07 AM
That's the reissue original issue of the Pinnock. He also played the complete 5th suite on an earlier anthology (there is another anthology on crd with older music (Byrd etc.) which I prefer). (The Archiv disc titled Harmonious Blacksmith only has the variations that was included in the Handel re-issue)





NB the d minor suite with the famous Sarabande (orchestrated version used in Barry Lyndon and a Levi's commercial) is not included by Pinnock. It's on the set you already have with an ultra slow performance by Gavrilov
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on October 25, 2020, 01:31:21 PM
I stumbled across this article on the BBC's website.  It's about the clocks at the various British palaces and the horologist who is currently looking after them.  One thing that I read is about a clock that contains (plays) pieces (4) composed specifically for the clock by Handel.  Perhaps one can hear them online?  Or maybe not?  Neat story in any event.  Nice article and beautiful clocks to look at too.  :)

https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-54387428

PD
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Handelian on November 04, 2020, 01:18:51 PM
Handel was an amazing man and not just as a composer. He was a real entrepreneur who hired his singers, rehearsed them and the music, produce the operas and put them on and conducted them. And in his spare time he would compose more operas and more music! He really was quite phenomenal. He seem to have not only a musical genius but the genius for organisation as well. I have found reading Dr Jane Glover’s book ‘Handel in London’ very illuminating and would recommend it to anyone. It’s very interesting to compare him with Beethoven. Whereas if Beethoven tried to organise a concert he would create chaos, Handel had everything organised to the fingertips. And it can’t be that it is because Handel was German because so was LvB
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: The new erato on November 04, 2020, 02:43:34 PM
I saw your introduction and want to welcome you from a Norwegian Handelian.
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Handelian on November 05, 2020, 11:38:26 PM
I saw your introduction and want to welcome you from a Norwegian Handelian.

Thanks! Your set-up appears more ordered than mine!  :D
Title: Re: Handel...The Harmonious Blacksmith Of Music
Post by: Rosalba on January 06, 2021, 03:54:56 AM
Handel was an amazing man and not just as a composer. He was a real entrepreneur who hired his singers, rehearsed them and the music, produce the operas and put them on and conducted them. And in his spare time he would compose more operas and more music! He really was quite phenomenal. He seem to have not only a musical genius but the genius for organisation as well. I have found reading Dr Jane Glover’s book ‘Handel in London’ very illuminating and would recommend it to anyone. It’s very interesting to compare him with Beethoven. Whereas if Beethoven tried to organise a concert he would create chaos, Handel had everything organised to the fingertips. And it can’t be that it is because Handel was German because so was LvB

I have been wondering about this book, so thanks for the recommendation.

Happy New Year to all Handel-lovers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y56mMUIn9fY
George Frideric Handel - Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 01 in G Major (HWV 319): Allegro