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Alexander Balus Oratorio [Import]

George Frideric Handel Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 38.35 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

Disc: 1
1. Alexander Balus: Act I: Ouverture
2. Alexander Balus: Act I: Chorus Asiates
3. Alexander Balus: Act I: Recitative Alexander
4. Alexander Balus: Act I: Air Jonathan
5. Alexander Balus: Act I: Flourish Of Trumpets
6. Alexander Balus: Act I: Recitative Ptolomee
7. Alexander Balus: Act I: Air Ptolomee
8. Alexander Balus: Act I: Recitative Cleopatra
9. Alexander Balus: Act I: Air Cleopatra
10. Alexander Balus: Act I: Recitative Alexander
See all 31 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Alexander Balus: Act II: Chorus Israelites
2. Alexander Balus: Act II: Recitative Cleopatra
3. Alexander Balus: Act II: Air Cleopatra
4. Alexander Balus: Act II: Recitative Aspasia
5. Alexander Balus: Act II: Air Aspasia
6. Alexander Balus: Act II: Recitative Ptolomee
7. Alexander Balus: Act II: Air Ptolomee
8. Alexander Balus: Act II: Accompagnato Jonathan
9. Alexander Balus: Act II: Soli - Chorus
10. Alexander Balus: Act II: Recitative Alexander
See all 35 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description


Of the four militaristic oratorios Handel wrote in the 1740s, Joshua, the Occasional Oratorio, Judas Maccabeus, and Alexander Balus, this last, based on an episode from the apocryphal book of the Maccabees, is the only really uninspired one of the lot. The best numbers are recycled from Handel's marvelous La Resurrezione of more than 30 years before--this is no problem in itself, but the rest of the music sounds all the duller in comparison. Still Hyperion, Robert King, and the King's Consort deserve praise for seeing to it that all of Handel's oratorios get high-quality performances on disc. Handel completists will want this, especially for Lynne Dawson's delicious performance as the Egyptian queen. --Matthew Westphal

Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Audio CD
It would be a great shame, this being the oratorio's sole recording to date besides one dreadfully amateurish recording by Rudolph Palmer, if this recording were not up-to-scratch. "Alexander Balus" is full of wonderful music, the vehicle for a very satisfying plot. Fortunately, this recording is excellent. Though it has been referred to as one of several distinctly militaristic oratorios (such as Judas Maccabaeus and Joshua), the referrence is misleading because Balus contains a dramatic thread one can follow and appreciate without too much distraction, and one that is not really dominated by military action in the slightest. To illustrate my point I've summarised the plot in the next four paragraphs.
Alexander Balus, who has recently conquered the throne of Syria, offers his friendship to Ptolemee, the King of Egypt. Love soon blossoms between Alexander and Ptolemee's daughter Cleopatra. The highlights of the opening scene include Cleopatra's air "Hark! hark! he strikes the golden lyre" the chorus of Asiates' "Ye happy nations round". My favourite part of Act I is Scene Three, when Cleopatra and her attendant, Aspasia, discuss and anticipate the merits of true love in a lovely series of arias culminating in a stunning, joyful and utterly thrilling duet "O what pleasures past expressing". For this duet alone, it is beyond belief that Alexander Balus is so little represented on the stage and in the recording studio.
In Act II Alexander asks Ptolomee for his daughter's hand in marriage and Ptolomee obliges, sending word that his bride awaits him at Ptolomais. However, a courtier then appears bringing word that there is a plot against Alexander's life - the would-be assassin being none other than Jonathan, chief of the Jews and Alexander's friend and brother!
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By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
In this recording Handel has attempted to do what many have failed at. Writing a sequel. In spite of the odds being against him, he manages to write a piece of enough originality to get me to purchase it. I am pleased enough about it to encourage other to at least listen to it through before offering to much criticism. While the first and second acts were very good, the third was excellent! I give my congratulations to Robert King, his performers, and to the genius, Mr. George Frederic Handel.
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By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This recording was on my MUST-HAVE list for quite a while, and it was worth the wait! Some of the most beautiful arias Handel ever composed, as well as fine duets, make this oratorio an essential item. This recording does full justice, with an especially beautiful final lament from Cleopatra, sensitively sung by Lynne Dawson, but the entire cast satisfied me. Robert King continues to impress with his controlled yet passionate conducting. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Catherine denley solo,right now! Jan. 21 2001
By Guntram
Format:Audio CD
Buy it as soon as possible and just hear Catherine Denley sings her "all around destruction deal" cadenza on "Fury with Red Sparkling Eyes"...The whole cast is magnificent but,for God,she is a terrific Handelian singer and we want a Handel recital solo by her,right now!Someone in the Universe (Hyperion,...)can hear me?
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By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I liked very much the brilliant sound of the orchestra and appreciated an unknowed work of late Haendel (particularly amusing the coruses). The bass could be better.
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