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Magnificat/Dixit Dominus [Import]

Natalie/Various Dessay Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 18.21 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. Magnificat
2. Et exsultavit
3. Quia respexit
4. Omnes generationes
5. Quia fecit mihi magna
6. Et misericordia
7. Fecit potentiam
8. Deposuit potentes
9. Esurentes implevit bonis
10. Suscepit Israel
11. Sicut Iocutus est
12. Gloria Patri
13. Dixit Dominus Domino meo (chorus)
14. Virgam virtutis tuae (countertenor)
15. Tecum principium in die virtutis tuae (soprano)
16. Juravit Dominus (chorus)
17. Secundum ordinem Melchisedech (chorus)
18. Dominus a dextris tuis (quintet, chorus)
19. De torrente in via bibet (sopranos, chorus)
20. Gloria Patri et Filio (chorus)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New benchmark recordings of two Baroque masterpieces Feb. 26 2008
By Michael Birman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Simon Preston's excellent 1990 recording of the 22 year old Handel's choral masterwork Dixit Dominus has withstood the test of time, often appearing as first choice amongst Handelians when judging recordings of it. Released during the early days of the cd and the first flowering of the period instruments movement, it had an interpretive grace that seemed most representative of Handel's intentions. Emmanuelle Haim and her Le Concert d'Astree have released a series of superb recordings in recent years, offering a freshness of interpretation that bespoke a brilliant new voice in the historically informed performance movement. Her Monteverdi recordings are wonderful and her recording of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas may be the current cream of the crop. She seems to have avoided Bach ... until now. Whether by design or not, she waited until she had accumulated the necessary interpretive chops before tackling these two heavyweight jewels of the German Baroque.

What she and her splendid group, accompanied by some of the finest of the current Baroque era singing specialists, have now released are probably benchmark recordings of these two choral masterworks, supplanting the venerable Preston performance. In the process, Haim makes the older disc seem strangely archaic and inauthentic: perhaps it's the exhuberance of youth versus the inevitable decline of age. Whatever the reason, Haim combines an urgency of expression that prefigures Beethoven, with a sonic clarity amongst both instrumentalists and singers, reminiscent of Ravel and other Gallic composers. In its simplest terms, she is uniting the Germanic and French schools and creating a third way of Baroque expression. It is stunningly successful in these two recordings. The forward thrust of the Magnificat begins with that glorious outburst from the horns and never lets up. The instruments are clearly delineated, softening Bach's complex contrapuntal writing, which can often overwhelm the listener. This is user-friendly Bach, built to please and not club you into submission. In the process, Bach's genius for melody, often hidden in those ornate inner lines, is revealed. This Magnificat is now a human outpouring of joy for the gift of salvation, an expression straight from the heart of the devout Bach. The Dixit Dominus, a work of such melodic brilliance that we are amazed by the youth of its creator, is given a similarly urgent yet disarmingly direct performance. The chorus sings almost as one voice, so skillfully do they perform. The soloists are equally superb. Instruments are brilliant and powerful as they comment on the words, their earthier tones providing an elemental counterpoint to the elegance of the voices. It is all deeply satisfying.

I loaded this disc onto my iPod and not a week goes by that I don't listen to it at least once. Balm for the soul, it is comforting to be in the presence of genius and not feel out of my depth. Bach and Handel may have been titans of Baroque music but Haim emphasizes their humanity, making their music approachable and just that much warmer. These recordings are exemplary, an excellent investment. Strongly recommended.

Mike Birman
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bull and the Bear March 17 2008
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
There's little I could add to Mike Birman's elegant review of this CD except enthusiastic agreement and a few personal impressions, so, friends, dat's whatcha gonna get.

In terms of emotional impact, Handel's Dixit Dominus and Bach's Magnificat are well matched, both fiery exclamations of religious fervour, both extended works of contrapuntal complexity and soloistic virtuosity, the Bull and the Bear in the ring of one CD. I won't tell where I'd place my wager, but it's high drama to have these two pieces performed together.

Emmanuelle Haim never lets up in intensity. Her tempi on some of the Bach movements and on the concluding Gloria Patri of Handel are faster than I've ever heard anyone attempt. Especially on the Magnificat, she is clearly demanding the absolute maximum of her choristers, and to my ears they rise to the challenge. Likewise the soloists, especially the two sopranos and the male alto Philippe Jaroussky, match the demands of both composers and their ardent conductor. As a bassoonist, I'd like to call attention to the eloquent Baroque bassoon playing of Philippe Miqueu. I'm envious; I wish I'd been there.

Good performances of Bach's Magnificat are not uncommon, but this is the first thoroughly satisfactory disk of Handel's Dixit Dominus I've encountered. Special alert to dieters: The charge this performance will put into you is worth at least 1200 calories on the exercycle. Listen and exult!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great music and wonderful performers, marred by uneven chorus Jan. 14 2008
By Abert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Even if you have long forsaken sacred music, the combination of Bach's BWV 243 magnificat with Handel's splendid Dixit Dominus would never fail to offer the most exciting contrapuntal music to gratify the ears.
Ms Haim's conducting of the Le Concert D'Astree is beautiful and the sound is first class.
The soloists Natalie Dessay, Philippe Jaroussky and Karine Deshayes all give terrific solo pieces in the two works. Jaroussky's counter-tenor in particular is boyish, vibrant and never short of being stunning.
The complicated counter-points in the two works, especially the Dixit Dominus, proved however a bit too much for the chorus. For most of the time, the 'male' voices lagged behind the sopranos and altos and the lower basses sounded weak, with the ensembles unbalanced as a result. The treble parts often had to shoulder the main bulk of the vocal lines, which needless to say, are not what was being required by the composer.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach's Magnificat and Handel's Dixit by Haim Jan. 18 2008
By Zadok_the_Priest - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Being only a dilettante and not a chorus master, I didn't find any great flaws in this recording's choir singing, unlike the previous reviewer. I do agree on all other points, though. The sonics are great and the orchestra and soloists are top-notch. Philippe Jaroussky gives what I believe to be the best performances of the alto solos I have heard in either piece. This might not be the best Magnificat, but it holds its own admirably. And this is definitely a great Dixit Dominus - the only competiton is Minkowski. But this coupling of 2 latin works by Bach and Handel is an excellent idea, and it sounds great to me.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I do not understand what the fuss is about here Nov. 29 2012
By Tim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Magnificat in D is performed more than competently, and very, very fast for the most part, but most of the choral singing is tasteless in my opinion. In 'Fecit potentiam' for example, much of the beauty of it is lost at this tempo, and every part is sung very staccato like - when the sopranos sing "in brachio suo ... " it is barely audible and sung very choppy. I far prefer the much saner Cleobury/Kings College version of 2000 or so or my old one with Simon Preston from the late 70's (the E-flat version) with the same group. With Bach's choral music often being so absurdly busy there are some ways to perform it so that it doesn't turn into a mushy wall of sound, I suppose this staccato style is one way. Rifkin does one singer to a part, some use slower tempos, etc. The arias and duets, are done very beautifully however, it's only the choral parts I have an issue with.

The instrumental playing and singing is virtuosic to say the least. The recorded sound is nice and dry. I just dislike the interpretation. I also dislike this trend of doing everything ridiculously fast. It seems like every period group is trying to outdo each other with the tempos. Calm down already.
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