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Saul Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 10 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B0000SWNHU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,570 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. Allegro
2. Larghetto
3. Organo Ad Libitum
4. Allegro
5. Andante Larghetto
6. 1. Chorus: How Excellent Thy Name, O Lord
See all 30 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. 42. Chorus: Envy! Eldest-born Of Hell!
2. 43. Recitative (Jonathan): Ah! Dearest Friend
3. 44. Air (Jonathan): But Sooner Jordan's Stream
4. 45. Recitative (David, Jonathan); O Strange Vicissitude!
5. 46. Air (David): Such Haughty Beauties Rather Move
6. 47. Recitative (Jonathan): My Father Comes/48. Recitative (Saul, Jonathan): Hast Thou Obey'd My Orders
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. 69. Accompagnato (Saul): Wretch That I Am!/70. Recitative - Accompagnato (Saul): 'Tis Said, Here Lives A Woman/71. Recitative (Witch, Saul): With Me What Would'st Thou?
2. 72. Air (Witch): Infernal Spirits
3. 73. Accompagnato (Samuel, Saul): Why Hast Thou Forc'd Me
4. 74. Symphony
5. 75. Recitative (David, Amalekite): Whence Comest Thou?/76. Air (David): Impious Wretch
6. 77. Dead March
See all 15 tracks on this disc

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
We attended a live performance of Saul in Toronto, by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir in February 2014. After listening to samples of other recordings I chose this one. I listened to it shortly after attending the concert and again today. I am impressed by the clarity of all period instruments, by the voices, by their dramatic singing. The tempi keep the performance going at an agile pace. Even though I was only listening on the CD and following the Libretto I felt I had attended a live performance again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ad9e168) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b24278c) out of 5 stars An excellent recording Oct. 19 2013
By Stanley Crowe - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I don't listen to Handel's oratorios much, and this is the only recording by Paul McCreesh that I have. I'm impressed. The recording quality is excellent, and the balance between voices, both solo and choral, and orchestra is very good. These oratorios aren't particularly dramatic in the way Handel's opera's can be, but in this one the soloists work hard to sing expressively off the words without trespassing into an inappropriately veristic style. Particularly effective here are some of the accompanied recitatives, especially at that part where Saul's madness begins to manifest itself. Here, the orchestral textures are remarkably refined, and the singing by Mark Padmore as Jonathan is quite superb. But on the whole all the singing is superb -- Neal Davies is a Saul whose voice is light, flexible, and yet has the necessary depth. Susan Gritton and Nancy Argenta are well contrasted as Saul's daughters, and Paul Agnew is an eloquent and humane High Priest. Special credit goes to Andreas Scholl, who was probably around his peak in 2002 when this was recorded. The purity, sweetness, and expressiveness of his singing of David are very special. The last Handel oratorio recording I heard was Gardiner's "Solomon." This, I think, is a better piece -- certainly more inventively scored -- and McCreesh's conducting is a bit less square than Gardiner's.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a9d6294) out of 5 stars If you enjoy Handel, don't miss this great work. June 5 2012
By Joe Scheirich - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Handel's Saul is one of his lesser known works, but certainly one of his best. Written in 1738, the story of Saul's descent into madness was preceeded by Handel's own health problems. Fortunately, Handel recovered and wrote one of his greatest oratorios.
The voices and orchestra in this production are top notch. The heart rending pathos in the last act as David sings, "O Jonathan! how nobly didst thou die" will bring tears to your eyes.
25 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a992d8c) out of 5 stars Beyond beauty in the realm of English national emergence Nov. 23 2006
By Dr Jacques COULARDEAU - Published on
Format: Audio CD
From the very start you know you are entering a masterpiece performed by one of the greatest living conductors. First the use of instruments. Each one has a particular part to play and, even in the most unified tuttis of the orchestra, each instrument plays its role and can be followed faithfully without getting lost in some kind of blended melting pot. This is admirable from the opening notes right on till the end. Then Handel uses voices in a very creative way too. David is an alto, which is normal in the 18th century since he is the hero and no one is going to cast a shadow on him. The alliance of this alto with the tenor Jonathan or the soprano Michal, or even the antagonistic soprano Merab, leads to giving each voice a real dramatic depth. The two sopranos are not used the same way since they are opposed in meaning, in attitude towards David. But there is another level that is Handel's mark on the operatic music of his time: the use of the English language. He has been able to capture the very harmony of the language itself and he casts his music, his singing, his variations inside the stress patterns and rhythm of the language and detonates the poetry of words in perfect tempo with the beauty of notes and intervals. Even the difficult English diphthongs flow into the music naturally and so fluently they seem to have been invented for the music, though it is indeed the reverse. Finally, before speaking of the message carried by the opera - or oratorio if you prefer - I have to emphasize the fact that this is a Biblical episode that is essential in our culture. It is the famous battle between David and Goliath, an archetypical episode in our civilization, as well as in the Bible. The little one against the big one. The plebeian one defending the realm. The weak one using his intelligence and skills to defeat the powerful one. We have to add to this the semitic stone civilization is defeating the northern Philistine metal civilization. And of course we have to think of the last descendent of David's line, Jesus. David is thus the embodiment of Jesus in our heritage, and, today probably more than in Handel's time, David has been immortalized by Michelangelo's carved representation of David killing Goliath with a stone and then using Goliath's own sword to behead him, just like Solomon will hire metal craftsmen from the north to build the Temple, hence using the skills of others, foreigners, even enemies to strengthen the faith and the realm of Israel. In this opera Handel concentrates on Saul's fall and the annunciation of David's rise. Saul is shown as jealous, insecure, full of anger which leads him to rejecting the basic rules of Israel and God, exemplified in Saul's recourse to the witch of Endor. Handel makes this witch a tenor, hence a man, and McCreesh identifies him to the High Priest by having only one tenor for both. The meaning is simple. God knows everything and is everywhere, and everything that exists is God's creation, even what is condemned by Israel's law. Yet we have to go beyond this simple religious fable and understand it is the national theme emerging in England that is really dealt with here. A king must be truthful, humane, law abiding, god fearing. A nation must support their king if he is what he should be. The king is the emblem of national identity. Thus Saul becomes the negative emblem of the Stuarts of old, and thus this opera is revolutionary, the continuation of the Glorious Revolution that has rid England of these Stuart kings. Yet the national identity of England can only be found in David's descendent known as Jesus, hence it can only be founded on Christianity.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ad18294) out of 5 stars decent recording May 1 2014
By Dallas P. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Despite some of the better-known names listed I found myself less satisfied versus other recordings. The character of Saul was not as strong or as aged as anticipated. In retrospect I would have preferred Concerto Koln.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a9525d0) out of 5 stars Saul for the soul April 18 2014
By Robert E. Williams - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am pleased with this recording. Bravo, brava, and bravi. My only complaint is that British singers roll the r's. Not a good sound!