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Handel: The Occasional Oratorio / King, King's Consort

Album Summary

>Handel, George Frideric : Occasional Oratorio, HWV 62
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'A very fine set, with a lot of magnificent music, played and sung as well as one could hope for' (Gramophone)

'Performed with spirit and style, beautifully recorded and handsomely presented. Yet another Hyperion winner. Hear it' (The Singer)

'Robert King blows cobwebs off a neglected Handel oratorio' (Classic CD)

'Full of superb music ... Highly recommended' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Plenty to enjoy. No lover of Handel should be without it' (Early Music Review)

'Handel at his most inspired ... the whole performance is fresh and electrifying' (The Guardian)

'A wonderful showcase of Handel at his most inspired and vigorous. The whole performance is fresh and electrifying, with excellent singing from all the soloists' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'Pure delight. The long-neglected music has been resurrected with a degree of vitality and commitment which must be heard to be believed' (Choir & Organ)

'With first-rate casts and careful attention to Handel's original texts, King has blown the dust off some magnificent music' (BBC Record Review)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
The occasion that called forth this work was the Jacobite rising of 1745 and its impending defeat. The Duke of Cumberland's victory at Culloden was yet to come. Handel, anticipating it, hit off the mood of the moment with a rousing piece full of appeals to patriotic feeling, partly through the traditional identification between the English Protestant culture of Hanoverian times with that of the biblical Hebrews. Much of the music comes from existing works, notably Israel in Egypt. The 'plot' pursues the familiar route of Anxiety-Prayer- Victory-Jubilation, but the work lacks the unity of theme and purpose of the great dramatic oratorios; if, however, you value Handel primarily because the music is so splendid you'll find a lot to relish here. King rises to the challenge of this sturdier side of Handel's muse and produces playing and singing full of punch and energy, and with that command of the broad Handelian paragraph without which the music lacks its proper stature.

The grand eight-part choruses, with the choir properly spaced, antiphonally, over the stereo span, make their due effect. King has a distinguished solo team. John Mark Ainsley's singing is particularly touching in the highly original 'Jehovah is my shield', where the rocking figures in the orchestra eventually turn out to symbolise sleep. Also very enjoyable is Susan Gritton's soprano, a sharply focused voice with a fine ring and due agility in the lively music and handled with taste and a keen feeling for the shape of phrases in the contemplative airs. A fine set.


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Works Details

>Handel, George Frideric : Occasional Oratorio, HWV 62
  • Performers: John Ainsley (Tenor); James Bowman (Countertenor); Michael George; Susan Gritton (Soprano); Lisa Milne (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Robert King
  • Ensemble: New College Choir, Oxford
  • Running Time: 2 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1746