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Haendel: Saul Import

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 11 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B000A169OA
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Disc: 1
1. Symphony: Allegro - Larghetto - Allegro - Andante Larghetto
2. 1. Chorus: How Excellent Thy Name, O Lord
3. 2. Air (Soprano): An Infant Raised By Thy Command - 3. Trio (Alto, Tenore, Basso): Along The Monster Atheist Strode
4. 4. Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso: The Youth Inspired By Thee, O Lord - 5. Chorus: How Excellent Thy Name, O Lord
5. 6. Recit & 7. Air (Michal): He Comes, He Comes! - O God-Like Youth! - 8. Recitative (Abner, Saul, David): Behold, O King, The Brave, Victorious Youth
6. 9. Air (David): O King, Your Favours With Delight - 10. Recitative (Jonathan): Oh Early Piety!
7. 11. Air (Merab): What Abject Thoughts A Prince Can Have! - 12. Recitative (Merab): Yet Think, On Whom This Honour You Bestow
8. 13. Air (Jonathan): Birth And Fortune I Despise!
9. 14. Recitative (High Priest): Go On, Illustrious Pair! - 15. Air (High Priest): While Yet Thy Tide Of Bood Runs High
10. 16. Recitative (Saul, Merab): Thou, Merab, First In Birth, Be First In Honour - 17. Air (Merab): My Soul Rejects The Thought With Scorn - 18. Air (Michal): See, With What A Scornful Air - 19. Air (Michal): Ah, Lovely Youth, Wast Thou Designed
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. 47. Recitative (Jonathan): My Father Comes - 48. Recitative (Saul, Jonathan): Hast Thou Obeyed My Orders
2. 49. Air (Jonathan): Sin Not, O King, Against The Youth - 50. Air (Saul): As Great Jehovah Lives - 51. Air (Jonathan): From Cities Stormed, And Battles Won
3. 52. Recitative (Jonathan, Saul): Appear, My Friend - 53. Air (David): Your Words, O King, My Loyal Heart - 54. Recitative (Saul): Yes, He Shall Wed My Daughter!
4. 55. Recitative (Michal): A Father's Will Has Authorised My Love - 56. Duet (Michal, David): O Fairest Of Ten Thousand Fair - 57. Chorus: Is There A Man
5. 58. Symphony: Largo - Allegro
6. 59. Recitative (David): Thy Father Is As Cruel - 60. Duet (David, Michal): At Persecution I Can Laugh
7. 61. Recitative (Michal, Doeg): Whom Dost Thou Seek - 62. Air (Michal): No, No Let The Guilty Tremble
8. 63. Recitative (Merab): Mean As He Was, He Is My Brother Now - 64. Air (Merab): Author Of Peace, Who Canst Controul
9. 65. Symphony: Allegro
10. 66. Accompagnato (Saul): The Time At Length Is Come - 67. Recitative (Saul, Jonathan): Where Is The Son Of Jesse?
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa01f1540) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa040be64) out of 5 stars Saul: Handel's Oratorio Becomes Dramatic Opera April 3 2006
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Though there are thankfully several very fine recordings of 'Saul', one of Handel's most successful 'operatic oratorios', this new release with René Jacobs conducting the Concerto Köln and RIAS-Kammerchor Berlin is by far the most intense and dramatic of the competition. Jacobs' style meshes perfectly with the Handel score and his tasteful embellishments for once enhance the drama rather than just stealing focus as brilliant playing. And his understanding of the choral music, which is so central to this work, is as fine as we are likely to hear.

The cast for this 'Saul' is uniformly excellent. While there are literally no 'big names' here, the ensemble cast is well chosen down to the smallest role. Jacob's draws flawless and seamless performances from Jeremy Ovenden (Jonathan), Lawrence Zazzo (David), Rosemary Joshua (Michal), Emma Bell (Merab), and Gidon Saks (Saul) - rightly in command of the atmospheric performance. But the smaller roles are equally well cast, especially young Michael Slattery who is rapidly gaining the attention of the major conductors in his work in opera ('Bastien and Bastienne', The Tristan Project - the Esa-Pekka Salonen/Peter Sellars/Bill Viola triumphant version of 'Tristan und Isolde', along with concert versions of Glass' 'Akhnaten' with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Mozart Requiem with the same forces, etc), Finnur Bjarnason, and Henry Waddington. It is refreshing to have the luxury of such fine singing!

For the power of drama that Handel's work holds, this is the recording of choice. It is successful on every level. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, April 06
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0382c00) out of 5 stars For Me, Jacobs Delivers Feb. 2 2008
By M. C. Passarella - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The key here is quite simple. As one of the other reviewers on this page has said, Saul is one of Handel's "operatic" oratorios. Who best to present same than Rene Jacobs? M. Jacobs has been criticized for an overly dramatic approach to choral music at the same time he has been soundly praised for the same quality. So it is up to you to decide. Unlike some of the other astute reviewers on this page, I have only a very old recording to compare Jacobs's performance to, and that comparison happens only in my head, since I no longer own the LP recording of that performance. In any event, the comparison would be invidious to say the least. What I hear in Jacobs' recording is a commitment to the score and more importantly, a commitment to the period that created this very great music.

As with most performances by this conductor, the drama is palpable. Go to the scene with the Witch of Endor for confirmation. The engineers at Harmonia Mundi, by the way, are very tasteful here, producing the de rigeur echo effects with eerie subtlety.

You want top-name performers? I'm sure you can find them elsewhere, but you won't find more committed or assured performances than are right here, on these two CDs.

Final enticement? Two CDs as opposed to three. So that's the package: a magisterial performance, fine performing forces top to bottom, and economy. Plus sound that is very fine: powerful, up front in the manner we expect from a production involving Rene Jacobs, but nonetheless realistic, with enough air to make the presentation easy on the ears. This is a model recording, in my opinion.

As to the music: It is not, I think, the equal of Handel's later Solomon, but it contains absolutely deathless music nonetheless and is in its entirety a masterpiece. Where to go for confirmation of its greatness? Maybe the famous Carillon Chorus (No. 23) or one of the big, martial choruses scattered throughout the score. Or, if you rightly think this is a psychological study of Saul, go to any of his tortured recitatives or arias after the ascendancy of David. All are astounding. For me, the great, tear-inducing number is No. 84, the chorus that laments the death of Jonathan. If you want to know why Handel is one of the two or three greatest composers that ever lived, here is Exhibit A (at least from Saul), dear friends.

So that's my take. I haven't heard many rival recordings, but knowing Handel, I think Jacobs turns in a very viable, and scintillatingly vital, performance of the score.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa040aedc) out of 5 stars Tragedy not wrought to its uttermost Jan. 16 2012
By Arthur Morgan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Others have pointed out the many merits of this performance, so there is no need for me to repeat them. But despite all those good things, this performance misses something of the weight of tragedy that Handel clearly intended in this work. If, for example, one compares the great Funeral March in McCreesh's recording with the performance here, Jacobs gives the impression of 'Not knowing what unearthly stuff Rounds a mighty scene' (to quote Yeats again). Jacobs is not quite perfunctory, but he hurries along without suggesting much of the grief, solemnity and gravity of this climax to the tragedy. And in the music that follows, the same lack is apparent. Of course this is a personal response, no less than anyone else's, and therefore possibly idiosyncratic, and I intend no disrespect either to Jacobs and his team, or to other reviewers here. All the same, I would encourage anyone considering this recording, and enticed by its lower cost, first to listen to McCreesh's version. Or McKerras's old one, even. Tragedy needs to have an impact.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0186a5c) out of 5 stars The Perfect Balance March 25 2015
By David G. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a very good performance, with the right size orchestra, neither small nor big. I favor the soloists in this recording over other performances. Of note, the counter-tenor actually has a very pleasant voice, something of a rarity in my mind. I generally do not like counter-tenors (the modern day substitute for castratos) and prefer mezzo-sopranos (especially Janet Baker) to fill the role. Handel himself tired of castratos and near the end of his career quit writing parts for them. This performance is a rarity for me with this counter-tenor, with no compunction to fast forward through his parts. If you have similar failings with counter-tenors, you may be pleasantly surprised with this one.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa032621c) out of 5 stars O Lord, whose mercies numberless... Sept. 25 2009
By Anna Shlimovich - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Many already commented on the excellence of this Saul; I can only add that the air by David, sung by Lawrence Zazzo, is absolutely incomparable. It is track #15, and strangely enough, is not listed for listening here...
One can only imagine how an equivalent of Farinelli, maybe Senesino, would sing it in a theater to a stunned audience, brought to total silence by this divine music.

Handel is a genius of all times...