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Handel: Messiah / Christophers, Sampson, Padmore, The Sixteen, et al

Album Summary

>Handel, George Frideric : Messiah, HWV 56, Oratorio
>Handel, George Frideric : Solomon
>Handel, George Frideric : Esther, oratorio, HWV 50b
>Handel, George Frideric : Pensieri notturni di filli (Nel dolce dell'oblio), cantata for soprano, recorder & continuo, HWV 134
>Handel, George Frideric : Concerto for Harp in B flat major, Op. 4 no 6/HWV 294
>Handel, George Frideric : Ariodante
>Handel, George Frideric : Giulio Cesare, HWV 17
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This brand new recording by one of the most celebrated ensembles in the world features distinguished soloists revered for their performances of Handel.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Over the past few decades Harry Christophers and The Sixteen have performed Messiah about 150 times. This new Coro recording presents them to better advantage than their uneven 1987 version for Hyperion: the choir remains excellent 21 years later but the orchestra and soloists are a vast improvement. Only one member of the choir and two orchestral players repeat their roles in the 2008 performance, and the violin section has swelled from seven to 12, which helps to produce a stronger theatrical sound. Christophers's interpretation nowadays is just over four minutes longer than it was in 1987, so there are no radical changes in his overall pacing, but taking a few things a notch slower suggests an increased confidence and maturity.

The contribution from the oboes is more telling and to the fore than one usually hears, although the prominence of the organ as a continuo instrument is seldom convincing (nor is the use of theorbo accompaniment in recitatives).

The Sixteen's choral singing has clarity, balance, shapely moulding of contrapuntal lines and plenty of unforced power. When necessary, resonant homophonic grandeur is achieved without pomposity. The contrast between the playful and solemn parts of 'All we like sheep' is wondrously realised, and the soft sections of 'Since by man came death' are breathtaking.



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Works Details

>Handel, George Frideric : Messiah, HWV 56, Oratorio
  • Performers: Mark Padmore; Christopher Purves (Bass); Carolyn Sampson (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Harry Christophers
  • Ensemble: The Sixteen
  • Running Time: 135 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1741

>Handel, George Frideric : Solomon :: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
  • Conductor: Harry Christophers
  • Ensemble: The Sixteen
  • Running Time: 3 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1748

>Handel, George Frideric : Esther, oratorio, HWV 50b :: The Lord our enemy has slain
  • Performers: Simon Birchall; Robert Evans (Bass-Baritone); Mark Padmore; Lynda Russell (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Harry Christophers
  • Ensemble: The Sixteen
  • Notes: Composition written: 1732.
  • Running Time: 11 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1732

>Handel, George Frideric : Pensieri notturni di filli (Nel dolce dell'oblio), cantata for soprano, recorder & continuo, HWV 134
  • Performers: Elin Thomas (Soprano); Katy Bircher (Flute)
  • Conductor: Harry Christophers
  • Ensemble: The Sixteen
  • Running Time: 7 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1709

>Handel, George Frideric : Concerto for Harp in B flat major, Op. 4 no 6/HWV 294
  • Performers: Erin Headley (Bass Viola da gamba); Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp); Stephen Stubbs (Archlute)
  • Conductor: Harry Christophers
  • Ensemble: The Sixteen
  • Notes: Composition written: 1736.
  • Running Time: 13 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1736

>Handel, George Frideric : Ariodante :: Act 2. Sinfonia
  • Conductor: Harry Christophers
  • Ensemble: The Sixteen
  • Notes: Composition written: 1734.
  • Running Time: 1 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1734

>Handel, George Frideric : Ariodante :: Recitative and Aria. Scherza infida
  • Performer: Sarah Connolly
  • Conductor: Harry Christophers
  • Ensemble: The Sixteen
  • Notes: Composition written: 1734.
  • Running Time: 12 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1734

>Handel, George Frideric : Giulio Cesare, HWV 17 :: Air and Chorus. Let the bright seraphim
  • Performers: Lynne Dawson; Crispian Steele-Perkins (Trumpet)
  • Conductor: Harry Christophers
  • Ensemble: The Sixteen
  • Notes: Composition written: 1741.
  • Running Time: 6 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1741