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Chandos Anthems


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Product Details

  • Performer: Dawson; Kwella;Bowman;Sixteen Orchestraharry Christophers
  • Composer: Handel George Frideric
  • Audio CD (Sept. 1 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Label: Chn
  • ASIN: B000000A5J
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,564 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 1: O Be Joyful In The Lord - Sonata
2. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 1: O Be Joyful In The Lord
3. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 1: Serve The Lord With Gladness
4. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 1: Be Ye Sure That The Lord He Is God
5. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 1: O Go Your Way Into His Gates
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 4: Sonata
2. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 4: O Sing Unto The Lord A New Song!
3. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 4: Declare His Honour Unto The Heathen
4. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 4: The Waves Of The Sea Rage Horribly
5. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 4: O Worship The Lord In The Beauty Of Holiness
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 7: 1: Sonata
2. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 7: 2: My Song Shall Be Alway
3. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 7: 3: For Who Is He Among The Clouds
4. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 7: 4: God Is Very Greatly To Be Feared
5. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 7: 5: The Heav'ns Are Thine
See all 25 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Chandos Anthems: Anthem 10: The Lord Is My Light - Sinfonia
2. Chandos Anthems: The Lord Is My Light And My Salvation
3. Chandos Anthems: Though A Host Of Men Were Laid Against Me
4. Chandos Anthems: One Thing Have I Desired Of The Lord
5. Chandos Anthems: I Will Offer In His Dwelling An Oblation
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

Amazon.ca

This series of 11 church anthems is a sterling example of doing more with less. Though their format is multiple movements for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, inviting grand treatment, Handel had available only a couple of oboes and a small string band and choir (with no violas or altos for numbers 1 to 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 James Bowman's arias lie uncomfortably low for him, he and Michael 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 27 1998
Format: Audio CD
Handel's Chandos anthems are apparently being rediscovered, as the release of several new recordings bears witness. This set is surely the best available, and is certainly the only complete collection. Especially beautiful are the duets ("O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness" and "Wash Me Th'roughly") and the tenor's recitatives. Performance is brisk and tight, though never rushed. Those who favor Simon Preston's even snappier style may prefer his rendition of Anthem 10 (now distributed with his very fine, and affordable, "Israel in Egypt"), but overall no one can be disappointed with this collection of too-rarely heard works.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robea on Nov. 28 2001
Format: Audio CD
This baroque era "Praise Music" is light years beyond the vacuous pablum that passes for praise music in churches today. I have had these four CD's for almost a decade (previous release) and they are still among my favorites. Almost all the songs (all the spoken music that is - a few songs are instrumental preludes) are Bible scripture verses set to music - similar to what Handel did in the Messiah. The musical quality of the CD is excellent. You would never guess that only 16 people are doing the choral parts. If you only have 10 CD sets of traditional Christian music this CD set should be one of them.
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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
TELL IT OUT AMONG THE HEATHEN Oct. 4 2008
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Newman Flower's great biography of Handel mentions `the twelve Chandos anthems'. There are 11 here, that number is explicitly confirmed in the liner note, so I suppose it must be 11, whatever Flower had in mind. The anthem was a specifically English musical form, tracing its descent apparently to the unaccompanied motets of an earlier era. It gave a role to the church choir in the latter half of certain services, and anthems came to be accompanied by either organ or small orchestra. Handel's association with the Earl of Caernarfon, later Duke of Chandos, seems to have come about through the Duke's social pretentiousness. He amassed great wealth dishonestly, and used it to build his palace Cannons at Edgware. He acquired paintings for ostentation, and he seems to have acquired Handel in much the same spirit. Their association appears to have been cordial but brief, just over 12 months in 1718-19. Flower says nothing about the occasions for which the anthems were composed, and the liner note suggests that little is actually known. They are mostly 20 minutes in length, although two stretch to nearly half an hour. The orchestra consists of strings without violas plus an oboe, a bassoon and a couple of recorders. The first 6 anthems are for 3-part chorus lacking altos, the others having 4 or 5 parts, not always including altos. The texts are from the Psalms in the Book of Common Prayer version, except in two anthems where the rhyming versions of Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady are used.

The Sixteen were already known to me in Handel from their fine Samson. However I have just been admiring them on their own in Palestrina, and I had to hear them in Handel again, because for me Handel is simply the greatest stylist of the voice who ever set words to music. It was also an opportunity to acquire and study the Chandos anthems as a complete set. Most of the music goes to the chorus, but there is plenty of solo and ensemble work, with the tenor having the lion's share. They seem to me to differ from Bach's cantatas not only in having their focus strongly concentrated on the voices rather than on instruments but also in having greater internal unity. Cantatas are to set texts for specific liturgical occasions, and are a string of separate `numbers'. As I understand it, the composer could assemble his own text for an anthem, and these anthems are units that break down into smaller subdivisions. Indeed the first anthem does not seem to me to subdivide in any way at all after the orchestral introduction, although there are breaks at six other points. Except for #9, where the first chorus has a lengthy `integral' prelude, each is preceded by a short `sonata' in slow-quick format - this is called a `sinfonia' at anthem 10, a distinction with no difference that I can detect. Arias, or detached solos and ensembles if arias is not the right word, are without da capo repetitions, and there is very little in the way of recitatives or accompagnati.

The chorus here are as superb as elsewhere, the modest but important orchestral parts are immaculate, the recording from 20 years ago is fine basically, and I like the soloists without exception. Right at the start of the first anthem Partridge is recorded in disconcertingly close focus with, as luck would have it, a long sustained `O' that will test how well you like his tone. It suits me fine, the focus adjusts almost immediately, and surely he is both a great singer and a great artist. That said, the performance calls for no more comment. The Sixteen do very well indeed, of course, in conveying depth and strength of tone even in 3-part writing - but whose is the true credit for that? Beecham tells us, if we even need telling: there has been no music since Handel's time that even feebly rivals his for grandeur and build of choral tone. However there is another aspect to Handel's vocal writing that seems to me at least as important, and one that receives less notice. I may call it the vocal rhetoric. By this I do not mean the `effects', although there are a few of those even here. The `snares fire and brimstone' of the second anthem are not treated pictorially, more as just a musical exclamation at such phenomena. However the earthquake and the thunder in #10 are spectacular to this day, I can almost literally see the lightning, and it was surely the capacity to do this kind of thing with such slender resources that led Mozart to say that Handel was the master of them all. Still, I come back to it - there is a deeper characteristic to Handel's musical rhetoric.

Listen attentively to the word-setting just as a technique. Observe the resourcefulness in the matter of repetition, with the musical phrases constantly varied and often the words repeated to different music entirely. Note the combining of phrases, the shortening, the rearrangements, and the associated stylistic features like the changes of pace, stops and starts, and irregular phrase-lengths. It is something entirely without parallel. It takes word-setting out of the ordinary realm of finding music that will express the mood and reflect the spoken rhythm of the words. Speech is no longer what governs this musical utterance, the utterance has become the province of a purely musical design.

This is all done with haughty ease and naturalness, and it was the kind of thing that led Haydn, on his last triumphant visit to London and at the height of his own great powers, to lament that Handel made him feel a novice. Understand this aspect of Handel's style and you will understand his melody better too. Hanslick, superficial as usual, deplored the lack of a freer modern melodic idiom in Handel, and indeed it seems to me that the entire reaction against him, partly caused by travesties in performance and partly by the appalling oratorio tradition that purported to be his legacy, led to the European musical culture as a whole losing contact with his special idiom and excellence. Tovey for one keeps talking about `Bach and Handel' when all he means is Bach. Beethoven had different ideas, and now that a generation or two has emerged from this era of heresy perhaps we can hear Handel with purified ears and begin to appreciate why Beethoven pronounced him the greatest composer who ever lived.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Rediscovered, the Chandos anthems deserve your ears! Oct. 27 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Handel's Chandos anthems are apparently being rediscovered, as the release of several new recordings bears witness. This set is surely the best available, and is certainly the only complete collection. Especially beautiful are the duets ("O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness" and "Wash Me Th'roughly") and the tenor's recitatives. Performance is brisk and tight, though never rushed. Those who favor Simon Preston's even snappier style may prefer his rendition of Anthem 10 (now distributed with his very fine, and affordable, "Israel in Egypt"), but overall no one can be disappointed with this collection of too-rarely heard works.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Why aren't these better known? April 13 2006
By Markian Gooley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It boggles my mind that this seems still to be the only complete set of the Anthems available on CD. The first of the discs came out in 1989 or so and volumes 1 and 2 were among the first CDs I ever bought (late adopter, I admit); I eagerly awaited and bought the others as they came out. Not that there's much to criticize about these performances. Oh, you may not like the tenor's very heavy dependence on mixed voice to hit high notes -- I don't mind it and for all I know it's faithful to the style of Handel's day -- or like the sound of the countertenor soloists or even the particular vocal qualities of one or the other of the sopranos (I find nothing wrong with any of them), but the chorus and instrumentalists sing and play crisply and very well. These Anthems were written to be lively and entertaining as well as full of honest devotion. Handel's grasp of English was still shaky at the time, and the choice of metrical versions of the Psalms for many of the texts is, well, questionable. More that one phrase will raise a smile: "That God is great we often have/ By glad experience found/ And seen how he with wond'rous pow'r/ Above all other gods is crown'd" is a prime example -- but listen to the bass (under-used by Handel in these Anthems, sadly: perhaps he lacked a reliable one at the time) sing Handel's setting, which reminds me of a beautiful, affectionate puppy of a large breed: slightly ridiculous, a bit bumbling, but attractive and strong and lovable. Or the chorus about "snares, fire, and brimstone" pouring in a "dreadful mixture" on the wicked: clearly the choristers are having great fun, just as I would, given the chance to sing this absurd version of the Psalmist's words. Buy this set, get your local choral society to sing one or more of these Anthems (I got to sing #11 once), spread the word.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Excellent - one of the best Handel CD's availible. Nov. 28 2001
By Robea - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This baroque era "Praise Music" is light years beyond the vacuous pablum that passes for praise music in churches today. I have had these four CD's for almost a decade (previous release) and they are still among my favorites. Almost all the songs (all the spoken music that is - a few songs are instrumental preludes) are Bible scripture verses set to music - similar to what Handel did in the Messiah. The musical quality of the CD is excellent. You would never guess that only 16 people are doing the choral parts. If you only have 10 CD sets of traditional Christian music this CD set should be one of them.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Oh, I love Handel!! April 17 2007
By kb in Washington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Why haven't I heard of this music before? I have long loved the Messiah, in fact, I have about 15 different CD versions of it! Now I can listen to Handel all year long, and for me this is all new music! If you love Handel's Messiah, you will love this collection! I just started listening to it on my drive to and from work, and I was transported! I enjoy the solos, the duets, and then the whole ensemble singing gloriously together. I am very happy I purchased the entire set!


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