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Handel: Hercules / Minkowski, Von Otter, Croft, et al

Album Summary

>Handel, George Frideric : Hercules
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Hercules has never quite occupied the place it merits in the Handel canon, even though it includes some of his most powerfully dramatic music. This is understood by Marc Minkowski, whose intentions towards the work are made clear frm the start of the Overture. But he's also intent on maintaining its dramatic pace and emphasising its range of feeling. His cast is well able to share his dramatic vision. Von Otter excels as Dejanira. This, rather than Hercules himself, is the central role, carrying the work's chief expressive weight. There's some beautifully shaped singing as in her opening air she mourns Hercules' absence, and she copes well with Minkowski's demanding tempo in 'Begone, my fears'. Lynne Dawson makes a delightful Iole, crystalline, airy, rhythmic, but able to call on more intensity where needed. 'My breast with tender pity swells' is truly lovely. Lichas' music is done with refinement but also vigour by David Daniels. Richard Croft, though often hurried by Minkowski, sings much of Hyllus' music with elegance, and his delicate sustained pianissimo in the da capo of 'From celestial seats descending', one of the most inspired pieces in the score, is remarkable. The choral singing is strong, secure, responsive, though the French choir is rather less euphonious than the best English ones. The orchestral playing is duly alert. This account benefits from fewer cuts than his rival Gardiner and superior solo singing.

Penguin Guide
Marc Minkowski conducts an urgently dramatic account of Handel's music-drama...von Otter gives a vividly characterful performance which, with fine gradation of tone and expression, brings out the full range of emotion inplied...Gidon Saks sings with fine, clear focus, not as weighty as many a traditional Handelian bass, but firm and dark.


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Works Details

>Handel, George Frideric : Hercules
  • Performers: Gidon Saks (Bass Baritone); David Daniels (Countertenor); Richard Croft (Voice); Anne von Otter (Mezzo Soprano); Lynne Dawson (Voice)
  • Conductor: Marc Minkowski
  • Ensemble: Les Musiciens du Louvre - Grenoble
  • Notes: Composition written: 1744.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1744