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|2. Recitative: Happy Assyria (A Ninevite)|
|3. Chorus: Hear Us, O Baal|
|4. Recitative: How Soon Eclips'd Is Human Joy (Tobit)|
|5. Solo & Chorus: O Lord, Whom We Adore (Tobit): Hear From Thy Mercies Seat (Chorus)|
|6. Recitative: The Lord Hath Heard My Pray'r (Tobias)|
|7. Air: Will God, Whose Mercies Ever Flow (Tobias)|
|8. Recitative: But Say, My Rightous Lord (Anna, Tobit)|
|9. Duet: To Steal A Grave (Anna, Tobit)|
|10. Recitative: Your Pardon (Tobias)|
See all 33 tracks on this disc
|1. Air: Thou, God Most High (Azarias)|
|2. Duet: Cease Thy Anguish (Azarias, Tobias)|
|3. Chorus: The Clouded Scene Begins To Clear|
|5. Recitative: How Happy, Daughter (Raguel, Sarah)|
|6. Air; To Nobler Joys Aspiring (Sarah)|
|7. Recitative: O Azarias, I Must Freely Own (Tobias, Azarias)|
|8. Recitative: The Gratefull Tribute Of Our Thanks (Raguel)|
|9. Air: Let Songs Of Varied Measure (Raguel)|
|10. Chorus: Now Love, That Everlasting Joy|
See all 33 tracks on this disc
Compiled by John Christopher Smith from Handel's operas, oratorios and other works,the oratorio Tobit, sometimes described as a pastiche, provided a winning synthesis ofreligion and entertainment at a time when newly-minted oratorios, drawing chiefly onbi
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When Georg Friedrich Handel visited Ansbach, Germany, in 1716, he invited Johann Cristoph Schmidt to come to England to serve as his assistant and chief copyist. Under the Anglicized name John Christopher Smith, "Schmidt" served faithfully until Handel's death in 1759. He was rewarded by the bequest of all of Handel's own manuscripts. Schmidt/Smith lived only until 1763, whereupon the manuscripts passed to his son, also named John Christopher Smith. The younger Smith had already been serving as Handel's helper in the performance of oratorios. He was an organist, a teacher of music, and a very minor composer in his own right. After Handel's death, he took the lead in perpetuating the annual performances of The Messiah and other oratorios, particularly as charity fundraisers. "Tobit" was one of several pastiche oratorios Smith assembled by selecting arias and choruses from Handel's various manuscripts; the English libretto for "Tobit" was supplied by Thomas Morell. There is only circumstantial evidence that the pastiche was ever performed. The creation of a "new" work from old music was not at all unusual or disreputable in Smith's era; Handel himself was a diligent recycler of his own music, and occasionally of the music of others.
So... what to make of this "oratorio" Tobit?
Plus: It's Handel! Why, it's even 'selected' Handel.
Minus: It's Handel only track by track. The total pastiche is not a Handelian conception, and one can't help feeling that even the decrepit, bloated, blind Handel of his last years would have felt some need for originality, variety and/or unity in an oratorio of this scale. Smith's pastiche is comprised almost entirely of "rousing" arias and more rousing choruses, the sort of Handel that George Orwell disdainful described as "The Big Bow-wow." Hey, I enjoy being roused now and again, but in this pastiche, the effort to show that "more is more" teeters toward bombast.
There's another Plus, nevertheless, for Handel aficionados. You can play a parlor game with yourself by trying to recognize the source of each track in the operas, cantatas, and oratorios Handel left for Mr. Smith to cull. Don't waste your effort on the recitativos; many of them were written by Smith. I think I could recognize the sources of roughly half of the Handelian portions, but I can't prove it; unfortunately, the sources are NOT identified in the CD notes.