Notes & Reviews:
First performed in London in 1736 to an admiring audience of 1,300 people, and enjoying considerable success thereafter, Handel's setting of John Dryden's 1697 poem 'Alexander's Feast' evokes the power of music to stir the soul to acts of love and war, revenge and revels. This splendid oratorio, set at Alexander the Great's victory celebrations for his conquest of Persia, culminates in an apotheosis to 'divine Cecilia', the patron saint of music whom Handel also praises in his 'Ode for St Cecilia's Day' of 1739 (NXS 8554752).
"This is another in the series of concert recordings that Martini has led for Naxos, and it is thoroughly satisfactory - perhaps the best in the conductor's series. None of the three solo singers was born to English, but they deliver it well. Mertens is the one familiar name among them and is predictably excellent, but the other two are quite fine. The chorus is robust and musters excellent diction. The 27-member period orchestra is very good...But be warned that the bargain is slightly qualified by the misguided penny-pinching of Naxos, which denies you the full text of the piece - must punch up that web, you know." - American Record Guide
"The performance is characterised by an austerity of tone that speaks volumes in the closing sections, when worldliness gives way to spirituality...The playing is spare, stylish and beautiful. Listen out, meanwhile, for silver-toned soprano Gerlinde Sämann, new to me, but a real find on this showing." -The GuardianNotes & Reviews:
Recording information: Kloster Eberbach, Rheingau, Germany (05/11/2008).
Submitted on 01/24/11 by KlingonOpera
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Works DetailsHandel, George Frideric : Alexander's Feast, HWV 75
- Conductor: Joachim Martini
- Running Time: 5 min. 29 sec.
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Cantata/Oratorio
- Written: 1736