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Handel - Deborah / Y. Kenny · Gritton · Denley · Bowman · M. George · The King's Consort · King

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 1, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Oratorio / Yvonne Kenny & Susan Gritton, sop. - Catherine Denley, mezzo-sop. - James Bowman, contreténor - Michael George, basse - Choir of New College, Oxford - The King's Consort, dir. Robert King

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Deborah is one of Handel's earliest oratorios, and it contains a lot of music recycled from other pieces--not that it really matters with Handel, who recycled whole works by other composers into some of his other oratorios. The real reason the piece has never caught on is the plot, in which the heroine lures her enemy into her tent, seduces him (we presume), then nails him to the floor with a tent peg through the brain. OK, so it isn't The Omen, but it's as close as Handel ever got. Fine performance, fun music, disgusting story. That's life. --David Hurwitz

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Deborah: Part The First: Ouverture: Grave - Allegro - Minuet
  2. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Chorus
  3. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Deborah And Barak Recitative
  4. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Barak & Deborah Duet
  5. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Chorus
  6. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Barak Recitative
  7. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Soli & Chorus
  8. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Deborah Recitative
  9. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Chorus
  10. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Deborah Recitative
  11. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Chorus
  12. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Barak Recitative
  13. Deborah: Part The First: Scene I: Barak Air
  14. Deborah: Part The First: Scene II: Jael Recitative
  15. Deborah: Part The First: Scene II: Deborah Air
  16. Deborah: Part The First: Scene II: Jael Recitative
  17. Deborah: Part The First: Scene II: Jael Air
  18. Deborah: Part The First: Scene III: Abinoam Recitative
  19. Deborah: Part The First: Scene III: Abinoam Air
  20. Deborah: Part The First: Scene III: Barak Recitative
  21. Deborah: Part The First: Scene III: Barak Air
  22. Deborah: Part The First: Scene III: Chorus
  23. Deborah: Part The First: Scene IV: Herald Recitative
  24. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Chorus
  25. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Chorus
  26. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Sisera Recitative
  27. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Sisera Air
  28. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Deborah Recitative
  29. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Deborah Air
  30. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Sisera Recitative
  31. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Sisera Air
  32. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Barak Air

Disc: 2

  1. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Chief Priest Of Baal
  2. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Chorus Of Baal's Priests
  3. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Chief Priest Of The Israelites Recitative
  4. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Chorus Of Israelites
  5. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Deborah Recitative
  6. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Soli & Chorus
  7. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Barak Recitative
  8. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Barak Air
  9. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Abinoam Recitative
  10. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Abinoam Air
  11. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Israelite Woman Recitative
  12. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Israelite Woman Air
  13. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Deborah Recitative
  14. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Jael Air
  15. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Deborah Recitative
  16. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Deborah & Barak Duet
  17. Deborah: Part The Second: Scene I: Chorus
  18. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene I: A Grand Military Symphony
  19. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene I: Israelite Woman Recitative
  20. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene I: Israelite Woman Air
  21. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene II: Abinoam Recitative
  22. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene II: Abinoam Air
  23. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene II: Jael Recitative
  24. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Chorus Of Baal's Priests
  25. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Israelite Woman Air
  26. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Barak Recitative
  27. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Jael Air
  28. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Deborah Recitative
  29. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Deborah Air
  30. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Barak Recitative
  31. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Barak Air
  32. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Deborah Recitative
  33. Deborah: Part The Third: Scene III: Chorus


Product Details

  • Performer: George Frideric Handel, Robert King, Yvonne Kenny, Susan Gritton, The King's Consort, et al.
  • Audio CD (December 1, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: HYPERION
  • ASIN: B000002ZX6
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,122 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Michael Birman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 22, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The year 1732 had ended dismally for Handel. Once the toast of London, master of Italian Opera and in snug with the Crown and the rest of London's music besotted Royalty (cognoscenti and dilettantes both), a reaction against Italian Opera had assumed fever pitch with the production of John Gay's Beggar's Opera and the newly formed "Opera of the Nobility". Handel's well-heeled friends were deserting him and his purse was thin. In desperation, on May 2 of that year, a reworked version of a 1718 Masque entitled Esther was presented without dramatic staging. It was modestly successful, enjoying 6 performances. It enabled Handel to pocket 700 Pounds which he promptly invested in a South Seas venture. Thus was Handellian Oratorio born.

So in 1733, realizing that Italian Opera was probably dead for now yet unwilling to take the hint that Opera in England should be written IN English, Handel took advantage of his small success with Esther and hurriedly composed (assembled is perhaps more accurate) a second Oratorio to a libretto by Samuel Humphreys based on the Book of Judges, chapter 4. The chosen story is gruesome, perhaps reflecting Handel's mood and desire for revenge, if only artistic. The Israelites, 20 years captive, are told by the prophetess Deborah that Sisera, the Canaanite commander, will be killed by a woman. After they go to war, Sisera dutifully flees the battlefield seeking sanctuary in the tent of the beautiful young Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite. She protects him, gives him a bowl of milk, then seduces him. Obviously weary (and full of milk), Sisera falls asleep in her arms. While he sleeps soundly, Jael rises stealthily and nails his head to the ground with a tent peg.
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Judges 4 is not a chapter of holy scripture that is often selected as a sermon-text. The incident in which Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, invites the vanquished Canaanite general Sisera into her tent and skewers his head to the floor with a tent-peg while he sleeps is not actually a more gory episode than many in the Old Testament: what really keeps the passage off-limits is the suspicion that she may have seduced him. Myself, I am not at all convinced of this. Sisera was no doubt exhausted, and quite likely not in the mood for anything more passionate than the bowl of milk that Jael had provided and owns up to. One way or the other, the tent-peg assassination dominates the comment I have been reading about the libretto of Deborah, but it would be a complete mistake to think that it dominates the libretto itself, still less the music. It is passed over summarily in a single recitative near the end of an oratorio that is about other issues entirely.

The entire process of the composition of Deborah took place in conditions of frantic haste. This was the case not only with Handel but also with his librettist Samuel Humphreys. Robert King, in his typically fine liner-note, finds that the time-pressure shows in the libretto which seems to him a succession of tableaux, but I have a better opinion of it. The libretto of Solomon is my own idea of a series of tableaux and disconnected episodes, whereas that of Deborah by accident or design contrives to form a very coherent framework for an oratorio.
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Format: Audio CD
Handel - Deborah / Y. Kenny · Gritton · Denley · Bowman · M. George · The King's Consort · King is a recording under the direction of Robert King who leads the Kings Consort on this Hyperion Records Ltd recording from 1993. The booklet contains 62 pages. It contains many nice photographs from the time of the recording. Robert King has written the liner-notes. The lyrics are available in German, French and English. Highly recommended indeed. 5/5.
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