Judas Maccabaeus: Act III: Air (Israelitish Woman)
Judas Maccabaeus: Act III: Air (Simon) - Chorus
Robert King's Handel oratorio series for Hyperion has been, on the whole, very successful. Although King lacks some the polish associated with other English period instrument groups, he conducts the music with tremendous g... more »usto, particularly in the big, brassy numbers that Handel wrote better than anyone else. If you already have Nicholas McGegan's performance of Judas on Harmonia Mundi, there's no reason to double up here, but as a first version, either of these recordings is worth your consideration. --David Hurwitz« less
Robert King's Handel oratorio series for Hyperion has been, on the whole, very successful. Although King lacks some the polish associated with other English period instrument groups, he conducts the music with tremendous gusto, particularly in the big, brassy numbers that Handel wrote better than anyone else. If you already have Nicholas McGegan's performance of Judas on Harmonia Mundi, there's no reason to double up here, but as a first version, either of these recordings is worth your consideration. --David Hurwitz
Excellent performance, but poor sound
D. Held | New York, NY | 05/24/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Wonderful vocal performancess especially by Emma Kirkby in her finest clearest voice. The several Duets with Ms Kirkby and Ms Denley (mezzo, singing a male part, no less) show their sensitive musicianship and vocal prowess. However, this recording is marred by fuzzy sound, and a low-level recording. This is its major draw-back, but until more Original Performance Practice performances become available--or this goes back to the recording technicians--this is the Judas Maccabaeus to have."
Loved it from the start
William | Brisbane, Queensland Australia | 10/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I actually sang in a choir, presenting this work, and from that time stems my own familiarity and love of this amazing work. I cannot really say much that would do any justice to the music, but inasmuch as oratorio seems Handel's showcase for his fertile and powerful imagination, so Judas Maccabeus, along with Messiah, is the star of the show.
I loved it from the start. One of the main criteria in assessing how good a choir is, has to be how well and how purely each voice can carry a note, in a reasonably bel canto fashion. Vibrato in the high soprano lines, and murky unpercievable notes in any of the voices are a turn-off particularly, and thankfully this recording is void of that. I have said this of another choir (King's consort choir), but I must say too, in the capacity of a fan quite partial to the King's college choir, that the New College Choir of Oxford prove themselves undoubtedly up to what I consider the standard-setting performances of the King's college choir. Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Robert King's masterful direction. He certainly conducts with marvellously Handelian power, and ferocity. Without comparison to any other presumably fine recordings (I haven't had the opportunity to hear any other's yet) I completely and fully recommend this recording, as a Handelian triumph, and a grand example of high standard in performance."
Berkeley Overcomes Oxford
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 09/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"University of California Berkeley, that is, not the philosopher. There are two contenders for top performance of Judas Maccabaeus -- well, in fact there are other recordings, but they're NOT in contention -- this one by The King's Consort and the Choir of New College Oxford, and the recently re-released performance by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus. The latter recording wins as forcefully as the Duke of Cumberland won at Culloden (the purported occasion for this composition) entirely on the superiority of the Berkeley chorus, which sings with superb clarity and ensemble under the direction of John Butt. It helps that the recording quality is also far superior. This Oxford performance is fuzzy in the extreme. The Philharmonia recording was made in the studio of Skywalker Sound, on the Lucas film 'campus' north of San Francisco. The only winning feint of the Kings Consort recording is the voice of Emma Kirkby, and it's not quite enough. See my review of the other CD set for more detail."
Catty | USA | 07/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Judas Macabaeus performed years ago, but didn't buy a recording until recently when I learned I'd be singing it with our regional chorus this fall. It's just an absolutely beautiful work, there's no question about it! I will agree with previous reviewers that considering the recording was made in 1992, it could have been a lot cleaner, but it wasn't bad enough to get in the way of my listening enjoyment."
Still More Great Handel choral work.
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 12/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Judas Maccabaeus' by George Fredric Handel is another testament to the fact that Handel could put entries from Johnson's dictionary to music and come up with magnificent music. While it is no rival to the great 'Messiah', it is just a bit better than 'Joseph and his Brethren' and comparable to 'Alexander Balus', according to my hearing all works on Hyperion under the direction of Robert King.
I am a bit surprised at the list price offered above. This work is not so good that I would seek it out, since I am not a major Handel fan. But, if you have an unquenchable craving for Handel's music, this one is worth it. I even thing the arias are better than in the other two minor oratorios I cited."