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Handel: The Occasional Oratorio /Gritton * Milne * Bowman * Ainsley * George * The King's Consort * King [Import]

George Frideric Handel , Robert King , Susan Gritton , Lisa Milne , Oxford Choirs of New College , The King's Consort , James Bowman , John Mark Ainsley , Michael George , Choir of The King's Consort Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: George Frideric Handel, Robert King, Susan Gritton, Lisa Milne, Oxford Choirs of New College, et al.
  • Audio CD (May 23, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000002ZZO
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,751 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Ouverture (Grave)
2. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Allegro
3. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Adagio
4. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Marche
5. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Arioso; Bass - Why Do The Gentiles Tumult...
6. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Chorus - Let Us Break Off By Strength Of Hand...
7. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Aria; Tenor - O Lord, How Many Are My Foes!
8. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Chorus - Him Or His God We Not Fear...
9. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Aria; Tenor - Jehovah, To My Words Give Ear...
10. The Occasional Oratorio: Act I: Chorus - Him Or His God We Scorn To Fear!
See all 28 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Occasional Oratorio: Act II: Aria; Soprano (LM) - How Many And Great Perils Do Enfold...
2. The Occasional Oratorio: Act II: Duet; Soprano & Alto - After Long Storms And Tempests Overblown...
3. The Occasional Oratorio: Act II: Aria; Bass & Chorus - To God, Our Strength, Sing Loud And Clear...
4. The Occasional Oratorio: Act II: Aria; Tenor - He Has Mansion Fix'd On High...
5. The Occasional Oratorio: Act II: Chorus - Hallelujah, Your Voices Raise...
6. The Occasional Oratorio: Act III: Symphony - A tempo giusto
7. The Occasional Oratorio: Act III: Symphony - Musette
8. The Occasional Oratorio: Act II: Chorus - I Will Sing Unto The Lord...
9. The Occasional Oratorio: Act III: Aria; Alto - Thou Shalt Bring Them In...
10. The Occasional Oratorio: Act III: Chorus - Who Is Like Unto Thee, O Lord, Among The Gods?
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

You'll find no stereotypical Biblical characters in The Occasional Oratorio; there are no characters at all. This work is nothing but a blood- and-glory martial celebration Handel hastily threw together to raise London's spirits in a crisis. (The "occasion" was the English counterattack against Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion.) Handel composed almost no original music for this work, instead lifting choice bits from Judas Maccabeus, Comus, Athalia, Israel in Egypt--he even closes the work with Zadok the Priest! Handel aficionados will have great fun picking out which numbers originated where. In fact, pretty much everyone will have fun listening to this music (gloriously performed by Robert King and his regulars); it is--as it were--a blast. --Matthew Westphal

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait of recording. April 13, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
For years now, I have sought a recording of this Handel masterpiece but found that none existed. As a matter of fact, no one had even heard of this oratorio until recently. So, without comparison to another recording, I have to recommend this treatment by Robert King to those who really appreciate Handel's music. The work itself is pure Handel at his best (written during his later years). Handel borrows choruses from his other masterworks for incorporation into this, as he typically did. The music is pure pomp and majesty written for full orchestra and chorus. If you like Handel, you'll love this one.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WILLIAM AUGUSTUS AND GEORGE FREDERICK December 1, 2005
Format:Audio CD
1745 was a bad year in London. Bonnie Prince Charlie and his band of lawless resolutes had come as near to London as Derby. There they had been defeated in battle, but it was still uncomfortably close for the Hanoverian court and its adherents, not least Mr Handel himself, now aged 60 and in receipt of a pension from the court, a pension he badly needed after a disastrous season for his oratorio productions. The monarchy of George II was perhaps not obviously inspiring, but the general feeling seems to have been that those who were not against it might as well be with it. Dormant patriotism now stirred in some unlikely bosoms, including that of Gluck at the Haymarket Theatre who turned out his pretentious La Caduta de' Giganti, which seems to have aroused as little enthusiasm even then as it does now. Handel, already at work with Morell as librettist on Judas Maccabaeus, diverted his efforts on to something more obviously related to the mood of the time, and by early 1746 was already rehearsing The Occasional Oratorio.

There is no story to the Occasional Oratorio, and the singers are not cast as characters. It is really an extended cantata, nearly two and a half hours of it. It is all in honour of the expected or hoped-for victory of the Hanoverian army under the command of the King's youngest son William Augustus Duke of Cumberland, `Butcher Cumberland' himself, now well on his way to his final routing of Prince Charles Edward and the Jacobites at Culloden near Inverness. To this day the name `Jacobite' is a badge of nostalgic pride in the region, but the names of the towns Fort William, Fort Augustus and Fort George reflect more accurately the way things turned out.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect choral work. October 29, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I assign 5 stars to King and to the marvellous choir. I am shure that Haendel wrote the best choruses everv written. I cannot explain me better,cause of my language that is not the English one. 4 stars to the singers. Very good the booklet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the Generic Title: This is Handel at His Grandest December 27, 2007
Format:Audio CD
Maybe its name is why this oratorio of Handel is so unfamiliar to music lovers, a generic title if ever there was one. Even worse, it seems to advertise the work's functionality over any artistic merits. Then again, maybe the oratorio's obscurity has to do with the occasion it celebrates: the defeat, if you want to call it that, of the Jacobites (supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie, pretender to the throne of England) at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. "Wholesale slaughter" is a more apt description, as the Highlanders who fought for Charles Stuart brought battleaxes into the fray against the muskets of the most powerful army in the world. Thus one of the several ironies of the oratorio is that Handel recycles choruses and solos from Israel in Egypt, written seven years earlier--ironic because it describes Pharaoh's ill-advised pursuit of the Israelites, military underdogs if there ever were any but top dogs thanks to God's intervention. Well, it is true that the Jacobite army penetrated England to within 125 miles of London, but that was a fluke. Given that the British Army slew 20 Highlanders for every one of their numbers killed at Culloden, Bonnie Prince Charlie can hardly be called a mighty Pharaoh.

Anyway, maybe this is more of a history lesson than you need as an introduction to the oratorio. But one of the chief deficiencies of the work is that, written in haste, it recycles earlier bits from Handel oratorios and other choral works--and even robs a piece yet to come, Judas Maccabeus of the following year. To Handel's audience, the borrowing from Athalia, Israel in Egypt, and from the Coronation Anthems (a shortened version of Zadok the Priest rounds out the oratorio) was probably not an issue. After all, they hardly had this music running in their heads.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handel as Handel and Welcome! September 26, 2005
Format:Audio CD
THE OCCASIONAL ORATORIO is a famboyantly wonderful amalgam of bits and pieces Handel pasted together for the 'occasion' of public inspiration. Some of his finest choruses and arias are here, but never mind trying to make sense of the sequence: it simply and gloriously doesn't have one!

The performance here is particularly blessed with such fine baroque singers as countertenor James Bowman, sopranos Susan Gritton and Lisa Milne, tenor John Mark Ainsley and bass Michael George. Robert King conducts the New College Choir, Oxford and The King's Consort with his customary flair for this music.

This is one of those recordings to buoy your spirits and throw a bit of pomp and elegance into you life. It is a pleasure! Grady Harp, September 05
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