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Handel: Great Oratorio Duets Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import


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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import, March 28, 2006
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$221.99 $2,093.46

Product Details

  • Performer: Carolyn Sampson, Robin Blaze
  • Orchestra: The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
  • Conductor: Nicholas Kraemer
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (March 28, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: Bis
  • ASIN: B000EQ5Q9A
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,923 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Jephtha, oratorio, HWV 70: These labours past
2. Joshua, oratorio, HWV 64: Oh peerless maid
3. Joshua, oratorio, HWV 64: Our limpid streams
4. Belshazzar, oratorio, HWV 61: Great victor, at your feet I bow
5. Susanna, oratorio, HWV 66: When thou art nigh
6. Susanna, oratorio, HWV 66: To my chaste Susanna's praise
7. Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: To thee, thou glorious son of worth
8. Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Streams of pleasure ever flowing
9. Solomon, oratorio, HWV 67: Welcome as the dawn of day
10. Solomon, oratorio, HWV 67: Ev'ry joy that wisdom knows
11. Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal Source of Light Divine), HWV 74: Kind Health descends
12. Saul, oratorio, HWV 53: O fairest of ten thousand fair
13. Saul, oratorio, HWV 53: At persecution I can laugh
14. Deborah, oratorio, HWV 51: Where do thy ardours raise me!
15. Deborah, oratorio, HWV 51: Smiling freedom, lovely guest
16. Alexander Balus, oratorio, HWV 65: Hail wedded love
17. Alexander's Feast, ode for St. Cecilia's Day, HWV 75: Let's imitate her notes above
18. Esther, oratorio, HWV 50b: Who calls my parting soul

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas A. Deutsch on May 30, 2006
This is a lovely CD. There have been several discs devoted to Handel's Italian duets, both the non-dramatic chamber genre and the operas - in the latter case, notably the superb Patrizia Ciofi/Joyce Di Donato 'Amor e gelosia' (Virgin Veritas) - but this is the first I've run across comprising only ones from English-language works. It's a well-chosen and -sequenced selection from a dozen works, ten of them plotted 'sacred dramas,' plus one number each from the 'Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne' and 'Alexander's Feast'; ending the program with a relatively downbeat duet from 'Esther' is an unexpected and inspired stroke. Soprano Carolyn Sampson and counter-tenor Robin Blaze sing ravishingly and blend beautifully, and are stylish and sensitive interpreters. They receive excellent support from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Nicholas Kraemer. The more overtly dramatic duets from 'Belshazzar,' 'Theodora' and 'Saul' may not pack quite the intense punch of other versions - no doubt Sampson and Blaze would go further in specific characterization in the context of a complete performance of those works - but that's an observation, not a reservation. I do not own an SACD player, so I can't report on that aspect of the disc, but the sound on a standard CD player is excellent. Complete texts. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Abert TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 17, 2013
It is useless to debate whether G. F. Handel is a German or English composer, for he was a prolific composer and wrote many vocal pieces of German, English as well as Italian.
These Oratorios were composed in England to English libretti, and certainly they are 'English'. So, as always, the most idiomatic interpretation of these works come from British musicians, and this compilation of duets from handel's English Oratorios and Odes holds no exception.
With the exception of 'Kind Health descends' taken from HWV 74 and 'Let's imitate her notes above' from HWV 75, other pieces are from oratorios.
As one reviewer so aptly observed, the style is more devotional than dramatic in these duets. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to adopt an approach now in full swing in respect of many HIP Italian baroque compositions: the baroque 'rock-n'roll'.
The performances here are stylish and elegant, with an overriding devotional element befitting the compositions' genre.
Carolyn Sampson is one of the foremost Handel sopranos now singing in Britain. Her singing is simply impeccable. Robin Blaze is a younger counter-tenor, owning a very pure and light timbre and blends completely with Sampson's lyrical soprano. Nicholas Kraemer is careful to desist from choosing extreme tempi and harsh rhythmic thrusts, so the album remains one primarily spiritual instead of dramatic in character.
This album is a desert island among the current dramatic HIP outputs of baroque vocal albums.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arnaldo on January 12, 2013
This Handel disc opens with soprano Carolyn Sampson and counter-tenor Robin Blaze singing a duet from Jephta, in which they repeat over and over the words "How happy. How glorious." And there could be no better way to describe this SACD from the BIS label: How happy, how glorious.

This feeling of elation is sustained throughout the 18 duets selected from Handel's English oratorios, such as Esther, Saul, Deborah, and so many others. Part of this has to do with the concept of the disc itself. In this era when complete sets prevail, it is a relief to find this recital-like approach. It is a confrontation between the heavy-weight museum mentality and the feather-weight pure musical enjoyment. And in this case, the much lighter and faster player scores a knockout.

Apart from the musical selection, the integration and purity of tone from Sampson and Blaze is simply stunning, as is the beautiful support provided by conductor Nicholas Kraemer and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. To top it off, the 44.1 kHz/24 Bit PCM recording displays it all in crystal clear clarity, with placement of the performers and the acoustics perfectly balanced by BIS' recording maestros.

I have no idea how this release performed in the marketplace, being that neither Sampson nor Blaze are so-called superstars, although they should. But the artistic success of this disc is undeniable and could in a way be a lesson to BIS itself. Why not offer more lighter and shorter fare such as is the case here? They have already done so in People Shall Hear (Hybr) and Bach: St. Matthew Passion (Excerpts) [Hybrid SACD]. But a selection of arias and duets extracted from their Bach cantata cycle would be a wonderful addition, even more so if done by Sampson, Blaze and company.
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By Claudine P. Torfs on October 14, 2012
Verified Purchase
Robin Blaze has a superb counter tenor voice and Carol Simpson is the perfect match. A great gift for Baroque music-loving friends. Hope they reprint it!
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