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G.F. Handel: Alexander's Feast Import

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 1 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: SRI Canada
  • ASIN: B0007DBXJC
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Disc: 1
1. Alexander's Feast: Overture
2. Alexander's Feast: 'Twas at the Royal Feast
3. Alexander's Feast: Happy, Happy, Happy Pair
4. Alexander's Feast: Timotheus plac'd on high
5. Harp Concerto Op.4, No.6 in B flat: Allegro
6. Harp Concerto Op.4, No.6 in B flat: Larghetto
7. Harp Concerto Op.4, No.6 in B flat: Allegro moderato
8. Alexander's Feast: The song began from Jove
9. Alexander's Feast: The list'ning Crowd
10. Alexander's Feast: With ravish'd Ears
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Alexander's Feast: Now strike the Golden Lyre
2. Alexander's Feast: Revenge, Revenge, Timotheus cries
3. Alexander's Feast: Give the Vengeance due
4. Alexander's Feast: The Princes applaud with a furious joy
5. Alexander's Feast: Thais led the way
6. Alexander's Feast: Thus long ago
7. Alexander's Feast: At last Divine Cecilia came
8. Alexander's Feast: Let old Timotheus yield the Prize
9. Alexander's Feast: Let old Timotheus yield the Prize
10. Organ Concerto Op.4, No.1 in G minor: Larghetto e staccato
See all 14 tracks on this disc

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9dd300a8) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e40b84c) out of 5 stars Handel's Great "Feast" in an Impeccable Rendition Aug. 21 2005
By Nicholas A. Deutsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Alexander's Feast," Handel's 1736 setting of Dryden's ode in honor of St. Cecilia's Day (patron saint of music) is a masterpiece and a delight, but its odd length - too long for a mixed program, too short for a full evening - gave Handel trouble and apparently still presents a problem: this is at present the only recording of this inspired work in the catalogue, though some good ones have come and gone. Fortunately, this reissue of the Sixteen's 1990 version is first-rate, in fact the best I ever recall hearing, with chorus, orchestra, soloists and conductor all in top form. Furthermore, music director Harry Christophers has wisely chosen to include the two concerti - one for harp, the other for organ - that Handel inserted in his original performances. Not only do they lengthen the piece to a satisfactory 115', they serve a satisfactory dramatic purpose by representing respectively the power of music in its pagan form - the bard Timotheus's lyre represented by the harp - and Christian - Cecilia's (apocryphal) organ. Both receive sparkling interpretations here.

If you enjoy such Handel works as "L'Allegro..." and "Acis and Galatea," you will certainly enjoy "Alexander's Feast," which finds the composer in peak form, responding with eagerness to the high quality of the English verse before him. And it's hard to imagine a better way to get to know it than this wonderful performance.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dd45714) out of 5 stars Alexander's Feast - English version Feb. 25 2006
By Music Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording is a very complete version of Alexander's Feast, following the composer's practice of inserting other pieces to create a performance of appropriate length. Excellent soloists, orchestra, and chorus. A high quality recording.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dd8d984) out of 5 stars One of Handel's great works Nov. 18 2005
By Diane Birdsall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I just attended a live performance of Alexander's Feast and I saw many people who probably never heard anything else than Messiah, suddenly finding out that there is more to Handel than Hallelujah chorus. This music is exciting and original, you may know several arias like "War he said is toil and trouble" or "Revenge!" but it is great as a complete work. It was written for St. Cecilia's Day celebration, then re-written several times, but it remains as a beautiful example of Handel's mastery in choral composition and writing showcase arias. The soloists are great, especially Ian Partridge, and the chorus is outstanding. This is a wonderful performance of one of Handel's great works.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dd796d8) out of 5 stars "The many rend the skies..." July 5 2013
By ealovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I once sang in "Alexander's Feast," and I now own three different versions of Handel's setting of Dryden's ode. This recording by The Sixteen has three additional pieces of music by Handel that are lacking in the Gardiner and Sanderling versions: the Harp Concerto Op.4, No.6 in B flat, which is inserted between 'Timoteus plac'd on high' and 'The song began from Jove'; and at the end of "Alexander's Feast" we hear the Organ Concerto Op.4, No.1 in G minor plus an extra chorus that runs for 3 minutes and is labeled "Your Voices" tune. I don't have any strong objections to the additions, except the harp concerto interrupts the flow of music as I had learned it.

According to the liner notes by Harry Christophers, "Handel added the delightful harp concerto at the very point Dryden wrote 'Timotheus...with flying fingers touch'd the lyre...' and then inserted an organ concerto after Dryden's final chorus, prior to the additional chorus 'Your voices tune and raise them high,' which Handel added as a finale." So I really have Handel to blame for this longer version of "Alexander's Feast"!

Although I prefer the Thomas Sanderling recording Handel: Alexander's Feast (even though it is sung in German), The Sixteen edition has much to recommend it. The instrumental playing by The Symphony of Harmony and Invention exhibits just the right Baroque sensibility, very much in the spirit of Handel's dramatic scoring. Lyric tenor, Ian Partridge's recitatives are crisply performed and easy to understand. Nancy Argenta's clear, flexible soprano is perfect for the role of Thais. One of the disc's highlights for me is Michael George's spirited rendition of "Revenge, Timotheus cries." He does a great job with the drinking aria, too. The Sixteen perform the choruses with their usual harmony and precision.

If you are a fan of Handel's vocal music, do not neglect "Alexander's Feast," whichever version you choose. Christopher Hogwood says of this music: "Handel added all his experience of drama and orchestral colouring. He ignored the conventional calls for a chorus at the close of every stanza, and offset the danger of static description with startling recitatives, and orchestral colouring (recorders, oboes, bassoons in three parts, trumpets, drums and seven-part choruses) appropriate to the poem's subtitle, 'The Power of Music'."
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dd89618) out of 5 stars Spirited performance of charming work March 9 2007
By Mary G. Swope - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This performance of Alexander's Feast is, in my opinion, exactly right for the work; beautiful, clear voices singing the solos with good diction, a lovely balance in the small chorus, and superb playing of appropriate instruments for the piece and for the period. The notes on the flyer are also excellent, presenting the background and intention of the work.