Handel: Esther [First Reconstructable Version, 1720] / Robin Blaze, James Gichrist, Susan Hamilton

> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act III Scene 1: Air: Jehovah, crown'd with glory bright (Priest of the Israelites)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act III Scene 1: He comes, he comes to end our woes (Chorus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act III Scene 2: Recitative: Now, O Queen, thy suit declare (Ahasuerus, Esther)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act III Scene 2: Accompanied: Turn not, O Queen, thy face away (Haman)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act III Scene 2: Air: Flatt'ring tongue, no more I hear thee! (Esther)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act III Scene 2: Recitative: Guards, seize the traitor, bear him hence! (Ahasuerus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act III Scene 2: Air: How art thou fall'n from thy height! (Haman)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act III Scene 3: The Lord our enemy has slain (Chorus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 2: Air: Tune your harps to cheerful strains (First Israelite)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 2: Shall we of servitude complain (Chorus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 2: Recitative: O God, who from the suckling's mouth (Israelite Woman)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 2: Air: Praise the Lord with cheerful noise (Israelite Woman)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 2: Shall we of servitude complain
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 3: Recitative: How have our sins provok'd the Lord! (Priest of the Israelites)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 3: Ye sons of Israel mourn (Chorus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 3: Aria: O Jordan, Jordan, sacred tide (Priest of the Israelites)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act I Scene 3: Ye sons of Israel mourn
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 1: Recitative: Why sits that sorrow on thy brow? (Esther, Mordecai)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 1: Air: Dread not, righteous Queen, the danger (Mordecai)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 1: Recitative: I go before the King to stand (Esther)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 1: Air: Tears assist me, pity moving (Esther)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 1: Save us, O Lord (Chorus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 2: Recitative: Who dares intrude into our presence (Ahasuerus, Esther)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 2: Duet: Who calls my parting soul from death? (Esther, Ahasuerus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 2: Air: O beauteous Queen, unclose those eyes! (Ahasuerus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 2: Recitative: If I find favour in thy sight (Esther)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 2: Aria: How can I stay when love invites? (Ahasuerus)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 3: Recitative: With inward joy his visage glows (Third Israelite, Fourth Israelite)
> Esther, HWV 50a (first reconstructable version, 1720) - Act II Scene 3: Virtue, truth and innocence (Chorus)

Album Summary

>Handel, George Frideric : Esther
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Dunedin Consort's highly anticipated new recording of 'Esther - First Reconstructable Version (Cannons), 1720' is the third recording in its hugely successful Handel series. The Consort have set the bar high for this Handel performance with a Gramophone Award in 2007 for 'Messiah' and a BBC Radio 3 'Building a Library' First Choice accolade for 'Acis and Galatea'. For Esther, director John Butt has reunited his award-winning team of soloists (Susan Hamilton - Esther; Nicholas Mulroy - Mordecai; Matthew Brook - Haman; Thomas Hobbs - 1st Israelite) plus well-known guest soloists Robin Blaze - Priest, James Gilchrist - Habdonah / Assuerus and Electra Lochhead - Israelite Boy

Gramophone Magazine
Butt's direction combines spontaneous freshness with a care for expressive phrasing and precise colouring. The 11-strong chorus - the solo cast plus reinforcement - is vital incisive, packing a fair punch even in the ceremonial final chorus.

The Guardian
The scholarship is only a means to an end, and is never allowed to get in the way of the wonderfully crafted music making. Textures are lean - 11 singers, including the soloists, 20 instrumentalists - but wonderfully precise, and the solo contributions, with soprano Susan Hamilton as Esther, are models of stylishness.

International Record Review
Butt's consort of soloists do this great music proud, sounding larger than their number would suggest...I'll return to this recording for the winning drive, dramatic conception and expressive phrasing of Butt's direction, his crack Baroque orchestra and his exceptional male cast.

American Record Guide, September / October 2012
As for the "original" Esther, we are lucky to have had the two earlier recordings, which still have their merits, but we can be grateful for this new and very carefully thought-out rendition.

BBC Music Magazine, August 2012
Paradoxically, a two-voices-to-a-part chorus achieves more immediacy than a larger choir, coupled with a stylish and delightfully intimate band. Yet again, Butt demonstrates that less can be more.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/12/2011-07/15/2011).



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Works Details

>Handel, George Frideric : Esther
  • Conductor: John Butt
  • Ensemble: Dunedin Consort
  • Notes: Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, UK (07/12/2011-07/15/2011)
  • Running Time: 84 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1718