Handel, G.F.: Jephtha [Oratorio] (Ainsley)

February 3, 2009 | Format: MP3

$17.98
Also available in CD Format
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Disc 2
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3:06
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4:32
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0:22
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4:19
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0:33
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3:56
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4:32
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1:06
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0:23
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2:47
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0:29
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0:49
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3:40
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3:37
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7:09
Disc 3
30
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2:39
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0:26
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4:05
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0:35
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5:02
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3:42
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1:53
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1:10
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1:30
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3:25
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0:29
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2:15
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0:19
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1:55
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0:20
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0:14
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3:36
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3:21
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: February 3, 2009
  • Release Date: February 3, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Berlin Classics
  • Copyright: 2009 Copyright Control
  • Total Length: 2:39:38
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B003KJQIIG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,795 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas A. Deutsch on January 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Handel's last four English oratorios are among his finest works: SOLOMON with its spacious pageantry, SUSANNA's curious yet effective hybrid of moral drama and English "village opera," the profoundly personal spiritual drama of THEODORA, and the intimate family tragedy - opening out onto deep philosophical vistas - of JEPHTHA... each one with its distinct atmosphere. Of these, JEPHTHA may be the most flawed in some of its details (notably the controversial ending), but each time one returns to it its imperfections matter less and less. It is one of the essential Handel works, and one of his most moving.

This 1994 studio recording ranks at the top of my personal list, along with John Eliot Gardiner's live version on Philips. Superbly played, sung and conducted, with a well-nigh ideal cast of soloists, it can be recommended without reservations. One consumer tip, however: it has been reissued on Brilliant Classics (with complete English text and program note) at a considerably lower price - worth seeking out.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Richford on May 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759): Jephtha, HWV 70. Libretto by Thomas Morell. Performed by: John Mark Ainsley, tenor (Jephtha); Michael George, bass (Zebul); Catherine Denley, mezzosoprano (Storgè); Christiane Oelze, soprano (Iphis); Axel Köhler, countertenor (Hamor); Julia Gooding, soprano (angel); RIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin; Academy for Ancient Music, Berlin, directed by Marcus Creed. Recorded in June 1992 at the Church of the Good News in Berlin-Karlshorst. Published in 1994 as Berlin Classics BC 1057-2. (This is the edition I have, but there is also a budget priced reissue available from the Dutch label Brilliant Classics). Total time: 2 hrs 40 mins.

The Bible is very candid about its heroes, letting us see their faults and sins just as clearly as their great deeds of faith. In this respect, the book of Judges is typical: its heroes (Abimelech, Gideon, Jephtha, Samson) are all very fallible, in fact quite the opposite of what one might expect. This was not always understood by our Christian forefathers, who, sometimes over-pious, tended to gloss over the sins of these Jewish men of faith. Jephtha's vow to sacrifice the first thing (or person) who met him when he returned victoriously from battle against the Ammonites, Israel's oppressors, was definitely not praiseworthy but a most unwise and rash act, made so much the worse by the fact that he insisted on performing it when it turned out that it was his daughter who met him first (as he might have anticipated). His cruel act brought not only death and distress on those near and dear to him but also cast the worst of aspersions on the God he professed to serve, making him seem brutal and over-stern instead of the loving and forgiving God he had revealed himself to be.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON VINE VOICE on July 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Whatever economic dark night the classical music industry is currently going through, one result has been an absolutely superb crop of early music records. England has particularly distinguished itself, but here is a set of an English language masterpiece from Berlin that stands comparison with the best. The version of Handel's great Jephtha that I have lived with for many years is by Marriner and the Academy of St Martin's. I'm not seeing it in the current catalogues, but what I have observed is two other versions receiving highly favourable notices. Anyone with world enough and time may want to obtain or at least hear these. For now I only wish to signal that there is another serious contender in the lists.

The recorded sound on this set is one I'm particularly comfortable with. That may be both a good and a not-so-good thing in one sense. The biblical story of Jephtha (Judges XI) is not a comfortable one in the least, and I have not so far got from this account quite the acute sense of mounting tension, panic and despair that Marriner conveys. In the scripture Jephtha attempts to make a deal of the most appalling insolence and presumptuousness with the frightful Jehovah of the old testament. Handel's librettist, the Rev Morell, perhaps nervous at even handling this incident, tries in various ways to make placatory gestures towards the Almighty, but I remain convinced that Handel, who knew his scripture, basically kept the biblical version in mind. Faust himself hardly made a more dreadful bargain, but the story also recalls the sacrifice of Iphigenia before the attack on Troy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lorenzo Moog on December 4, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The last of Handel's oratorios is presented in this 3 CD set (with the excellent observations of Donald Teeters) by Akademie Fur Alte Music; Berlin with the RIAS Kammerchor and a fine cast of singers. John Mark Ainsley sings the title role of Jephtha beautifully in an excellent tenor with a great mid-range and fine dramatic quality. Christine Oelze as Jephtha's daughter Iphis turns in a wonderful performance in a very clean & unencumbered soprano with effortless reach. She's delightful. The entire cast gives an admirable performance with beautifully balanced singing. The voices are all of a piece, wonderfully cast and well supported by the fine chorus and orchestra. Marcus Creed conducts the orchestra with finesse. There are some sleepy moments but overall the music is exquisite and has a spareness that I find interesting. The more I hear it the more I like it. Of particular delight are Jephtha's "His mighty arm", "Deeper and deeper" and "Waft her angels" and Iphis' "Farewell thee limpid springs" and the Chorus' "How dark, O Lord are thy decrees" and the closing "Ye house of Gilead". So with that final "Halleluah. Amen." Handel's opera and oratorio composing came to an end. Handel was having severe eye difficulties as he wrote "Jephtha" and shortly after its completion, and two botched eye surgeries, he became blind. He attended many performances of this oratorio and kept an active creative life in spite of his blindness and one wonders that he didn't find comfort in the line from the great Chorus "How dark O lord, are thy decrees"......... "whatever is, is right". If Handel interests you this is a treasure. Highly recommended.
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