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Handel: Joshua [Import]

George Frideric Handel , Robert King , Emma Kirkby , James Bowman , Aidan Oliver , John Mark Ainsley , Michael George , Choir of New College Oxford , The King's Consort Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Price: $37.58 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Handel: Joshua + Handel: Joseph and his Brethren (3 CD Set) / Robert King
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Product Details

  • Performer: Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Aidan Oliver, John Mark Ainsley, Michael George, et al.
  • Conductor: Robert King
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (November 19, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B000002ZOQ
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,680 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Joshua: Introduction
2. Joshua: Joshua - Chorus - Ye Sons Of Israel
3. Joshua: Recit (Joshua, Caleb)
4. Joshua: Joshua - Air - O First In Wisdom (Caleb)
5. Joshua: Joshua - Recit - Matrons And Virgins (Achsah)
6. Joshua: Joshua - Air - Oh! Who Can Tell (Achsah)
7. Joshua: Recit (Joshua)
8. Joshua: Chorus And Joshua
9. Joshua: Joshua - Accompagnato - So long The Memory Shall Last (Joshua)
10. Joshua: Joshua - Air - While Kedron's Brook To Jordan's Stream (Joshua)
See all 27 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Joshua: Joshua - Recit - Let All The Seed Of Abrah'm (Joshua)
2. Joshua: Joshua - Chorus - Almighty Ruler Of The Skies
3. Joshua: Joshua - Recit - Joshua, The Men Dispatch'd (Caleb)
4. Joshua: Chorus Of The Defeated Israelites
5. Joshua: Joshua - Recit - Whence this Dejection? (Joshua)
6. Joshua: Joshua - Air And Chorus - With Redoubled Rage (Joshua)
7. Joshua: Joshua - Recit - Now Give The Army Breath (Othniel)
8. Joshua: Joshua - Air - Heroes When With Glory Burning (Othniel)
9. Joshua: Joshua - Recit - Indulgent Heav'n (Achsah)
10. Joshua: Joshua - Air - As Cheers The Sun The Tender Flow'r (Achsah)
See all 29 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Handel's Old Testament oratorios can be difficult to tell apart--tenor Israelite hero, bass enemy or éminence grise, soprano ingenue, and alto priest or youth. What distinguishes Joshua? Real characters: tenor Joshua, confident to the point of conceit; grizzled old general Caleb, wistfully facing retirement; alto Othniel, an excited young warrior/lover fighting battles to win Caleb's giddy daughter, Achsah. Joshua's highlights are the showpiece arias. James Bowman sails through Othniel's impetuous "Let danger surround me"; Emma Kirkby (one of the best ornamenters in the business) charms and fascinates in Achsah's "Oh, had I Jubal's lyre" and "Hark! 'tis the linnet"; George Ainsley is a Joshua both vigorous and graceful, the chorus and the brass are stunning in "Glory to God" as they bring the walls of Jericho tumbling down. --Matthew Westphal

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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE KING'S CONSORT DOES IT AGAIN!!!! April 16, 1999
By A Customer
This wonderful recording not only provides further proof, not that it is necessary, of Handel's genius, but demonstrates what can be achieved when academia and passion integrate. This is, without question, sublime Handel and it is performed with such conviction that one wonders how it is that Joshua is not on the top of everyone's list of favorite Handel works. It is certainly one of mine, now. "O Had I Jubal's Lyre" sung with great delicacy and precision by Emma Kirkby and "See, The Conquering Hero Comes" are most probably the two most well-known pieces in "Joshua" but they are not, by any means, the only memorable one's. This oratorio abounds with beautiful music both in the form of arias and choruses. This is another wonderful addition to The King's Consort already impressive discography dedicated to the choral music of Handel. The chamber orchestra performs with great elegance yet vibrancy and the chorus responds with the same level of intensity. I recommend this recording to all who want to experience a great English oratorio in the manner in which it was meant to be heard. Thank goodness for record company's like Hyperion who recognize the importance of restoring lesser known masterpieces to their rightful place
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CONQUERING HERO August 31, 2004
Verified Purchase
Handel hits this one with everything, or nearly everything. I'm not sure that I have ever been more conscious of the sheer audacity of his style than I am here in Joshua. There are some big effects, of a familiar type, as in the chorus `Glory to God' that accompanies the fall of the walls of Jericho or in the `Solemn March during the circumvection of the Ark of the Covenant' that precedes it, or in the terrific final chorus. There is some extraordinary orchestration, notably the birdsong impressions in Achsah's aria `Hark, `tis the linnet' or the extraordinary impact of the long sustained notes on violins and trumpet when the sun is bidden to stand still in ` Behold! The list'ning sun'. There is the populist Handel of `See the conquering hero comes', which seems to have done much for him what `La donna e mobile' was later to do for Verdi. At the musical, or musical/rhetorical, level there is an abundance of the subtler stylistic features that set him apart from anyone else of his time - the characteristic stops and starts, changes of pace, rhetorical gaps in the vocal line, modulations that almost anticipate Schubert and that unparalleled instinct he had for how, why and when words should be repeated for maximum effect, continuity and eloquence. There is a certain amount of unaccompanied singing both for soloists and chorus, and if I have one problem with any of it, the problem is with Handel's sense for choral tone, which leaves me unable to listen to anyone else's choral writing for some time afterwards.

The libretto deserves a certain amount of the credit. The Rev Thomas Morell was no great poet, and his verbal expression is more trite than usual here, no doubt because of the pressure he was under to keep pace with the enormous speed Handel was working at in the grip of inspiration.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan May 6, 2007
AND THE 'WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN'- BUT NOT MUSICALLY SPEAKING!

'Joshua'was one of a quartet of oratorios written consecutively between 1746 & 1748 which has heavily militaristic overtones. Through the years it has been rather neglected in the line-up of Handel Oratorios and unfortunately so, because the quality and excitement that is Handel is contained within it just as in other works.

It contains two unforgettble scenes: the fall of the walls of Jericho and the halting of sun and moon. Here also is the famous march 'See the conquering hero comes' which the Victorians used 'ad nauseam' to open new public works. It occurs in almost exactly the same position in ActIII as the purely orchestral 'Dead Marches' in 'Saul' and 'Samson'.

Handel uses a full complement of instruments, particularly brass and percussion that provide the bombastic and triumphant sound effects for the exciting action of the story. The King's Consort are more than capable of providing these trememdous sounds, and they do!

This is a very fine recording of Handel's 'Joshua'. The New College Choir under the direction of Edward Higginbottom is superb, and is featured frequently throughout the work, as is usual for Handel choruses.

The soloists sing expressively and skillfully protraying for us the exciting story of Joshua. Emma Kirkby's solo 'Oh Had I Jubal's Lyre' is just so excellent as she sings out those exquisite high notes with her clear and pure soprano and executes superfast passages as if they were so easy, and they are not! John Mark Ainsley, in the role of Joshua, is marvelous; his tone quality has such warmth and life!!.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This terrific and exciting oratorio may not have the popularity of The Messiah, but it fully deserves to be at the forefront of everyone's oratorio collection. The chorus work is amazing, the solos are exciting and beautiful, the music is entirely riveting.

The performance recorded here and conducted by Robert King is utterly splendid. John Mark Ainsley is without a doubt one of the finest Handelian tenors in the world, and he sings with beauty and inspiration. Emma Kirkby is simply ravishing - there's no other word for it. She's never sung any better (although she's such an amazingly consistent singer that MUCH of what she's sung would draw the same comment) and this suits her perfectly. Michael George is as ever a thoroughly wonderful bass singing beautifully. James Bowman... what can one say of James Bowman that has not already been said? He is extraordinary - he sings with such an exquisite line and such meticulous and emotion-filled control that one understands exactly why he is considered one of the great countertenors.

Highly recommended - there may be other good recordings of "Joshua", but certainly not a better. It remains my favourite of all the "Joshua" recordings.
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