- Audio CD (Sep 18 2001)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Universal Music Group
- ASIN: B000050IU0
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
This recording is not "disdainful" or "languid!" Far from it! I have several choral conductor friends who appreciate the many subtleties of this recording over the 1978 version by Gardiner or the newer one from Minkowski. The string playing is outstanding...I guess John Eliot now has a deeper understanding of this work after 20 years! I would surmise that he understood that the work's tension not only rests on the voices of the singers and the choir, but also in the orchestral writing as well...listen to the tight crecendos in the string section in movement 5! It's menacing, jubilatory, tempered with enough balance of the intellect that keeps it from becoming "dull"
I see this recording as a valedictory one for John Eliot and his forces...a visionary who doesnt need to show off nor a conductor who's out to impress someone with loud voices and heavily accented/staccato readings(that was him a few decades ago!).
Get this record! Its wonderful stuff! But you also ought to get the 1978 recording of the Dixit Dominus (though it has less music in it, only Handel's Zadok the Priest is included).
Unquestionably, Gardiner's thoughtful account of the 'Dixit Dominus' is to be preferred to the archive one from 1986 on the BIS CD. But why the Vivaldi? There are better versions out there, and Gardiner of all people would have been capable of coming up with another matching Handel offering - say a Motet like 'Saeviat tellus inter rigores' or the Psalm 'Nisi Dominus'.
Still, this is a worthwhile disc. Handel's 'Gloria' is new enough to the general listening public to require a variety of interpretations and approaches. For my money Kirby will remain the benchmark soloist, but Keith has offered a spirited response
I'm giving this disc two stars only because of the Handel Gloria, which is indeed an attractive and inventive little piece, well sung and played. The Vivaldi is unexceptionable. The real outrage is the Dixit Dominus, one of the most vivid and exciting works in the choral repertoire. It's performed here in a languid, disdainful fashion, at tempos that jog peacefully along without urgency and with signers (both choral and solo) who sound barely interested in the force of the text or the drama of its setting. "We sing this sort of thing all the time" is the attitude, and it's deadly to this piece, which notorious for its vocal demands. Making it sound easy makes it sound dull.
Try, instead, Marc Minkowski's recent Deutsche Grammaphon version: it's recorded triumphantly live with soloists who will rock your world, and includes most of the rest of Handel's Italian music. This was a young man seeking to make an impression, and boy does he! Gardiner's Handel sounds like a bored Brill Building hack, pumping out another cantata to pay the rent.