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|Michael George, George Frederick Handel, Harry Christophers|
Handel: Chandos Anthems, Vol. 3 - Nos. 7, 8 & 9
This series of eleven church anthems is a sterling example of doing more with less. Though their format is multiple movements for soloists and chorus and inviting of grand treatment, Handel had available only a couple of o... more »
This series of eleven church anthems is a sterling example of doing more with less. Though their format is multiple movements for soloists and chorus and inviting of grand treatment, Handel had available only a couple of oboes and a small string band and choir (with no violas or altos for nos. 1-6). Yet each one of these anthems is a gem. Handel's music captures well the changing moods of the Psalm texts--from somber penitence to serene bliss to infectious joy to the raging of storms and seas. Though Bowman's arias lie uncomfortably low for him, he and George do fine work; Lynne Dawson, Patrizia Kwella, and Ian Partridge are delightful. Harry Christophers leads his choir and orchestra in subtly inflected and beautifully paced performances. --Matthew Westphal
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Leslie Richford | Selsingen, Lower Saxony | 11/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Harry Christophers continued his valuable series of recordings of Handel?s ?Chandos Anthems? with this third volume containing Anthems Nos. 7, 8 and 9. The recording was made at St. Jude?s Church, London, in January and February 1989. These slightly later anthems require a four-part choir and include, for the first time in this series, male altos. There is also a male alto solo part, here sung by James Bowman with quite amazing delicacy, especially considering that the pitch is, for him, rather low. Soprano Lynne Dawson appears not to have been available and is here replaced by Patrizia Kwella, herself an accomplished Handelian. Her voice has a sweetness and simplicity that becomes these anthems very well. The other two soloists, Ian Partridge (tenor) and Michael George (bass), participated in the two previous CDs. Ian Partridge has a very English timbre, something that an American singer colleague of mine recently declared ?did not convince? him ? perhaps he detected a certain lack of religious fervour. But on the whole I felt that Ian Partridge?s style fits rather well with this decidedly ?Augustean? music ? but each listener must decide for himself or herself: Try track 4 (?God is very greatly to be feared in the counsel of the saints?), which is a tenor air and not, as the booklet would suggest, a trio for soprano, tenor and bass, or track 11 (?O come, let us worship and fall down?).
In the orchestra there were also some changes. David Woodcock took over as leader, and he and William Thorp produce some excellent solo violin playing, as also does Sophia McKenna on the oboe. The instrumental passages and accompaniment appear to have gained in stature since the first two CDs of the edition.
Handel?s music is, as always, superb, and he seems to have had no difficulties in drawing inspiration from English psalm texts (Anthem No. 9 is on a rhyming paraphrase by Tate and Brady). However, the famous trio ?Thou rulest the raging of the sea? has been proved spurious and is not included on this CD. Anthem No. 9 (?Praise the Lord with one consent?) is beautifully crafted, the alternating passages for choir and soloists expressing a joy and confidence that, for sacred music, should be par for the course but are, in fact, quite rare.
All in all, this is a more than worthy successor to the previous two CDs of the series and a most welcome addition to the Sixteen?s grand discography.