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Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato / Gritton, McFadden, L. Anderson, Agnew, N. Davies; King [Import]

George Frideric Handel , Robert King , Susan Gritton , Claron McFadden , Lorna Anderson , Paul Agnew , The King's Consort , Neal Davies Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Price: $35.80 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Performer: George Frideric Handel, Robert King, Susan Gritton, Claron McFadden, Lorna Anderson, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000026CVB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,209 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. OVERTURE [Grave]: Allegro - Lentement - Allegro Moderato
2. PART ONE: Accompagnato - Hence, loathed Melancholy
3. Accompagnato - Hence, vain deluding Joys
4. Air - Come, thou goddess fair and free
5. Air - Come rather, goddess, sage and holy
6. Air - Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
7. Air - Come and trip it as you go
8. Accompagnato - Come, pensive nun, devout and pure
9. Air - Come, but keep thy wonted state
10. Accompagnato - There, held in holy passion still
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. PART TWO: Accompagnato - Hence, vain deluding Joys
2. Air - Sometimes let gorgeous tragedy
3. Air - But O, sad virgin, that thy pow'r
4. Air - Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career
5. Chorus - Populous cities please me [us] then
6. Air - There let Hymen oft appear
7. Accompagnato - Me, when the sun begins to fling
8. Air - Hide me from Day's garish eye
9. Air - I'll to the well-trod stage anon
10. Air - And ever against eating cares
See all 25 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Handel's oratorios may be loaded with wonderful music, but their librettos have tended to draw some sniping. It's true that some of them can be rather banal, but others are very impressive--the biblical texts Charles Jennens assembled for Messiah and Israel in Egypt, for example, and John Dryden's ode Alexander's Feast. One particularly inspired idea Handel's colleagues had was to take excerpts from John Milton's poems "L'Allegro" (about the joys of sophisticated hedonism) and "Il Penseroso" (about the joys of contemplative solitude) and interweave them to make a sort of musical debate. At Handel's request, Jennens wrote a concluding section titled "Il Moderato," which unites the two opposing temperaments under the guidance of "Sweet Temp'rance." The result is one of Handel's most colorful scores, with such treats as a robust aria with hunting horns, a laughter chorus, a gentle duet for soprano and cello, and arias and choruses with featured parts for trumpets, organ, and even the tinkling bells of a carillon. Not to mention "Sweet bird," one of the very greatest "birdsong" arias, in which a flute imitates a bird and a soprano imitates the flute. How odd, then, that this is only the second recording of L'Allegro in 20 years. Luckily, it's a good one. Conductor Robert King and his orchestra and choir do their work well, certainly, but it's the soloists who make this performance special. Lorna Anderson does a lovely "Sweet bird" with a particularly good trill; soprano Susan Gritton sounds sweeter and more eloquent than ever; and the fabulous tenor Paul Agnew uses an amazing range of tone colors, from angelic purity to intimidating harshness. All in all, this L'Allegro is good enough to silence any grumbling about what took Hyperion so long to record it. --Matthew Westphal

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(7)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rush to buy L'Allegro April 23, 2000
Format:Audio CD
This is music that makes you feel glad to be alive - is there any composer better at expressing joy than Handel? This piece is all about the multi-faceted joys to be experienced - of the hunt(CD1, 16), the carnival (CD1, 23), solitude (CD1, 8,9), the theatre (CD2, 2,9) and the beauty of the night (CD2, 24). It is also a wonderful, perhaps unsurpassed, evocation of pre-industrial England. The singing is almost always first rate and Robert King seems to have shaken off the slightly restrained demeanor of some of his earlier Handel recordings and perhaps as a consequence the King's Consort and Choir are inspired. If you are unconvinced listen to the gorgeous duet at the end of part 3, possibly the best Handel ever wrote, and the sheer verve of the tenor air and chorus, 'These delights if though canst give'.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer delight! March 15, 2000
By Izolda
Format:Audio CD
This is really a feast for Handelians, beautifully played and sung. The earlier recording of this oratorio, made by Gardiner in the 80-ties, is not only incomplete but also less impressively executed. It is wonderful to have both sets, but this new one from Robert King brings much more life to this splendid music. It is one of my desert island discs!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Triumphs in Handel's Pastoral Ode, L' Allegro November 3, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Review of Hyperion Label's L' Allegro by Handel

I own both the Gardiner performance (Erato) from the 80's and now this newer performance by King (Hyperion) from the 90's, and the King routs Gardiner. Not only does this newer recording benefit from better sound, but the solo singing is uniformly better, being informed by more recent scholarship. In addition, some of the solos on the Gardiner set are just weak, such as those of the boy soprano, who has almost no voice at all, thus ruining his part completely. On Hyperion's excellent set, in contrast, all of these problems are completely avoided; all the solo parts are taken by adult singers, who do both Milton and Handel grand, making this lovely poetry completely audible. King's orchestra and chorus are also the equal of Gardiner's well-known, excellent ensemble, and they perform the later edition of this delightful music which Handel prepared about a year or two after the initial performances, thus adding almost twice as much as Gardiner performs in his version of Handel's original version. In short, haste thee, and purchase King's period instrument triumph of Handel's L' Allegro and bring out smiles, jollity, and rejoicing all around.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty, grace and joy February 15, 2007
By KC
Format:Audio CD
A wonderful performance of a beautiful piece. Good taste personified! In a complete and uncut studio recording. Robert King is served by excellent orchestral playing and strong singers. Susan Gritton's singing is wonderful. I can find nothing to fault and everything to commend. Buy it!
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