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The Sixteen, The Symphony Of Harmony And Invention, Harry Christophers - Handel: Esther (2004)

Posted By: tirexiss
The Sixteen, The Symphony Of Harmony And Invention, Harry Christophers - Handel: Esther (2004)

The Sixteen, The Symphony Of Harmony And Invention, Harry Christophers - Handel: Esther (2004)
EAC | FLAC (image+.cue, log) | Covers Included | 01:44:57 | 536 MB
Genre: Classical, Choral | Label: Coro | Catalog: COR16019

Recorded in 1995, this Esther was first issued as Collins Classics 7040-2 early the following year. Like Hogwood, Harry Christophers recorded the original 1718 version of what has gone down in history as Handel’s first English oratorio.
In point of fact, the complex and still largely unresolved history of Esther suggests that it was not originally composed as an oratorio at all, but rather as a staged work that would have formed a companion to the near-contemporary Acis and Galatea. Like the English masque, Esther was one of the works composed during the period Handel was patronized by James Brydges, later Duke of Chandos, although—unlike Acis and the Chandos Anthems—there is no firm evidence that it was first given at Brydges’s recently completed lavish country home, Cannons. During the 1720s, Esther lay undisturbed as Handel consolidated his reputation as an Italian opera composer, but in February 1732, it re-emerged, firstly in three private performances given in London to celebrate Handel’s forty-seventh birthday, and then two months later in a pirate public performance. Handel’s response, as would frequently be the case when his music was appropriated without authorization, was to perform a substantially revised and expanded version himself on May 2, thus unwittingly laying the foundations for the great series of oratorios that would follow.
The source for Esther was Racine’s 1689 Biblical play of the same name, which had recently been translated into English by Thomas Brereton. The author of Handel’s libretto has not been identified, possibly fortuitously given the universally bad press it has been accorded among Handel scholars. As has been pointed out by Handel scholar Winton Dean, there is nothing sacred about the Book of Esther, which is rather a piece of Jewish history that relates how the exiled Jews were saved from massacre at the hands of Haman, chief minister of the Persian King Ahasuerus (Xerses I) by Esther, a member of the Jewish community who has recently become the king’s second wife. The music with which Handel clothed this scenario was to a substantial extent (nine of the 21 numbers) drawn from his recently completed “Brockes Passion,” a German work that he would have had little opportunity to perform in England.
Notwithstanding structural weaknesses and the static nature of much of the action (it is difficult to imagine the work being staged), there is plenty of fine music for Handelians to enjoy. Much of it has a youthful verve and energy that harks back to the composer’s Italian period, while the colorful deployment of the relatively small orchestral forces (harp obbligato in the Israelite Woman’s “Praise the Lord,” a pair of crooning bassoons in Ahasuerus’s “O beauteous Queen,” and thrilling horns in the Priest’s “Jehovah, crown’d” and the succeeding chorus “He comes, he comes,” later to become the opening movements of the second of the Concerti a due cori) provides a constant source of pleasure.
There can be little question that the true heroes of the present recording are Christophers, who conducts the work with a fervent conviction that makes the excellent Hogwood look at times a little prosaic, and his quite magnificent chorus, who sing throughout with an incisive precision, superb articulation, and clarity of diction that is often electrifying. His soloists enjoy somewhat more mixed fortunes, with the good if rather anonymous Esther of Lynda Russell proving no match for that of Hogwood’s Patrizia Kwella, and the highly capable Tom Randle’s Ahasuerus failing to dislodge memories of Anthony Rolfe Johnson at his peak. But Michael Chance sings a wonderful Priest (his intensely moving “O Jordan, Jordan” is one of the highlights of the set) that eclipses that of Drew Minter, and Nancy Argenta provides a poignant reminder of the singer she was with a radiantly joyful “Praise the Lord.” Haman, the one character of real interest (there are surely pre-echoes of Saul in his downfall), is powerfully sung by Michael George, although David Thomas for Hogwood arguably invested the role with greater personality. In general, though, this is a quite splendid performance of a work more often mentioned by historians than heard, a fate it certainly does not deserve. – BRIAN ROBINS

The Sixteen, The Symphony Of Harmony And Invention, Harry Christophers - Handel: Esther (2004)

Track List:

CD 1:
1. Overture Andante - Larghetito - Allegro
2. Recitative Habdonah/Haman: " 'Tis greater far to spare"
3. Aria Haman: " Pluck root and branch from out the land"
4. Recitative Persian Officer: "Our souls with ardour glow"
5. Chorus: "Shall we the God of Israel fear?"
6. Recitative First Israelite: "Now persecution shall lay by her iron rod"
7. Aria: "Tune your harps to cheerfull strains"
8. Chorus: "Shall we of servitude complain"
9. Aria Israelite Woman: "Praise the Lord with cheerful noise"
10. Recitative Israelite Woman: "O God, who from the suckling's mouth"
11. Aria Second Israelite: "Sing songs of praise, bow down the knee"
12. Chorus: "Shall we of servitude complain"
13. Recitative Priest of the Israelites: "How have our sins provoked the Lord!"
14. Chorus: "Ye sons of Israel mourn"
15. Aria Priest ofc The Israelites: "O Jordan, Jordan, sacred tide"
16. Chorus: "Ye sons of Israel mourn"
Bonus: Oboe Sonata HWV 404
17. Andante
18. Allegro
19. Adagio
20. Allegro

Exact Audio Copy V1.3 from 2. September 2016

EAC extraction logfile from 25. July 2018, 11:02

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers / Handel - Esther [1718 Version]

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Read mode : Secure
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Make use of C2 pointers : No

Read offset correction : 6
Overread into Lead-In and Lead-Out : No
Fill up missing offset samples with silence : Yes
Delete leading and trailing silent blocks : No
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Used interface : Native Win32 interface for Win NT & 2000

Used output format : User Defined Encoder
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Quality : High
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Filename C:\EACRip\HANDEL\THE HANDEL COLLECTION - The Sixteen, Harry Christophers [12CDs] (2010)\Vol. 7 - Esther (2CD)\CD1\Handel - Esther [1718 Version] - The Sixteen, Harry Christophers.wav

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==== Log checksum CBC10C54FB857ADE2DD9746E632C3726EC3D7359684109E6653804F5D558B1CB ====

CD 2:
1. Recitative Esther/Mordecai: "Why sits that sorrow on thy brow?"
2. Aria Mordecai: "Dread not, righteous Queen, the danger"
3. Recitative Esther: "I go before the King to stand"
4. Aria Esther: "Tears assist me, pity moving"
5. Chorus: "Save us, O Lord"
6. Recitative Ahasuerus/Esther: "Who dares intrude into our presence"
7. Duet Esther/Ahasuerus: " Who calls my parting soul from death?"
8. Aria Ahasuerus: "O beauteous Queen, unclose those eyes!"
9. Recitative Esther: "If I find favour in thy sight"
10. Aria Ahasuerus: " How can I stay when love invites?"
11. Recitative Third Israelite/Fourth Israelite: "With inward joy his visage glows"
12. Chorus: " Virtue, truth and innocence"
13. Arioso Priest of the Israelites: "Jehovah, Crown'd with glory bright"
14. Chorus: " He comes, he comes to end our woes"
15. Recitative Ahasuerus/Esther: "Now, a Queen, thy suit declare"
16. Arioso Haman: "Turn not, a Queen, thy face away"
17. Aria Esther: "Flatt' ring tongue, no more I hear thee!"
18. Recitative Ahasuerus: "Guards, seize the traitor, bear him hence!"
19. Aria Haman: "How art thou fall'n from thy height!"
20. Chorus: "The Lord Our enemy has slain"

Exact Audio Copy V1.3 from 2. September 2016

EAC extraction logfile from 25. July 2018, 11:36

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers / Handel - Esther [1718 Version] (Disc 2)

Used drive : ATAPI iHAS124 F Adapter: 1 ID: 0

Read mode : Secure
Utilize accurate stream : Yes
Defeat audio cache : Yes
Make use of C2 pointers : No

Read offset correction : 6
Overread into Lead-In and Lead-Out : No
Fill up missing offset samples with silence : Yes
Delete leading and trailing silent blocks : No
Null samples used in CRC calculations : Yes
Used interface : Native Win32 interface for Win NT & 2000

Used output format : User Defined Encoder
Selected bitrate : 1024 kBit/s
Quality : High
Add ID3 tag : No
Command line compressor : C:\Program Files (x86)\Exact Audio Copy\FLAC\FLAC.EXE
Additional command line options : -8 -V -T "TITLE=%title%" -T "ARTIST=%artist%" -T "ALBUMARTIST=%albumartist%" -T "ALBUM=%albumtitle%" -T "DATE=%year%" -T "TRACKNUMBER=%tracknr%" -T "TRACKTOTAL=%numtracks%" -T "GENRE=%genre%" -T "COMMENT=%comment%" -T "PERFORMER=%albuminterpret%" -T "COMPOSER=%composer%" %source% -o %dest%


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Range status and errors

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Filename C:\EACRip\HANDEL\THE HANDEL COLLECTION - The Sixteen, Harry Christophers [12CDs] (2010)\Vol. 7 - Esther (2CD)\CD2\Handel - Esther [1718 Version] (Disc 2) - The Sixteen, Harry Christophers.wav

Peak level 99.8 %
Extraction speed 5.8 X
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Test CRC 1C4F794F
Copy CRC 1C4F794F
Copy OK

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==== Log checksum A9F0280469B9256F7D3575E9EBB2E2DDB4268E632DC82A70AB15BB1EB07443E8 ====

Performers:
Lynda Russell, soprano: Esther
Nancy Argenta, soprano: Israelite Woman
Michael Chance, Alto: Priest of the Israelites
Thomas Randle, tenor: Ahasuerus/Second Israelite
Mark Padmore, tenor: Mordecai/First Israelite
Matthew Vine, tenor: Officer/Fourth Israelite
Simon Berridge, tenor: Habdonah/Third Israelite
Michael George, bass: Haman
Robert Evans, bass1, Duet
Simon Birchall, bass2, Duet
Anthony Robson, oboe (on Oboe Sonata HWV 404)

The Sixteen
The Symphony Of Harmony And Invention
Conductor - Harry Christophers

Thanks to the Original ripper (unknown)!

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