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Händel - Jephtha

Composer George Frideric Handel
Performer Collegium Vocale Gent
James Gilchrist
Mona Julsrud
Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
Fabio Biondi, conductor
Catalogue Number BIS-1864 CD
EAN 7318590018644
Format CD  –  2 discs
Release date Feb 2011
Total time 158'48

2 CDs for the price of 1 – Handel's final oratorio

"This spirited live performance is to be welcomed. James Gilchrist make a stylish Jephtha... magnificent choruses." The Daily Telegraph; "157 minutes de musique intenses sans la moindre baisse de tension." Classica; "Biondi is always a dramatically alert Handelian." International Record Review; “Une interprétation haute en couleurs et très réussie.” Pizzicato; “[Gilchrist's] earnest portrayal of the tormented Jephtha combines dramatic feeling with outstanding diction.” American Record Guide

&&&After finishing the chorus ‘How dark, O Lord, are thy decrees’ in February 1751, Handel noted in the autograph score that he couldn’t continue his work on Jephtha because of eye problems. Later in the year, he regained his eyesight and was able to complete the work in the autumn. The problems returned however, and in January 1753 a London newspaper reported that ‘Mr Handel has at length, unhappily, quite lost his sight’. Jephtha was thus to become Handel's last oratorio, and indeed his last major work. It is nevertheless no less a masterpiece than his earlier works, and contains some of his noblest music. The plot of this ‘Sacred Drama’ is loosely based on the story of Jephtha in the Old Testament: a father who in order to win the the Israelites’ struggle against the Ammonites makes a rash promise to God, and after his victory is compelled to sacrifice his own daughter. The situation gives rise to music of touching poignancy, as well as great choral set-pieces. This rousing live performance, recorded in 2008 in the Stavanger Concert Hall, boasts a roster of soloists headed by the fine British tenor James Gilchrist as Jephtha, as well as the eminent Belgian choir Collegium Vocale Gent, all backed up by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. At the helm of these large forces is Fabio Biondi, the Baroque violinist and conductor who since 2005 has been artistic director of the Stavanger orchestra in the baroque and classical repertoires.
 
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Disc 1
 
  Georg Friedrich Händel
  Jephtha 157'28
01 Overture 5'03
02 Menuet 1'23
03 Accompagnato (Zebul): It must be so 1'37
04 Air (Zebul): Pour forth no more unheeded pray’rs 4'56
05 Chorus of Israelites: No more to Ammon’s god 3'06
06 Recitative (Zebul, Jephtha): But Jephtha comes 0'56
07 Air (Jephtha): Virtue my soul shall still embrace 4'01
08 Recitative (Storgè): ’Twill be a painful separation 0'33
09 Air (Storgè): In gentle murmurs will I mourn 4'30
10 Recitative (Hamor): Happy this embassy 0'46
11 Air (Hamor): Dull delay, in piercing anguish 2'37
12 Recitative (Iphis): Ill suits the voice of love 0'29
13 Air (Iphis): Take the heart you fondly gave 3'08
14 Recitative (Hamor): I go. My soul, inspir’d 0'27
15 Duet (Iphis and Hamor): These labours past 4'25
16 Recitative (Jephtha): What mean these doubtful fancies 2'23
17 Chorus of Israelites: O God, behold our sore distress 4'49
18 Recitative (Storgè): Some dire event 0'31
19 Air (Storgè): Scenes of horror, scenes of woe 3'57
20 Recitative (Iphis, Storgè): Say, my dear mother 0'55
21 Air (Iphis): The smiling dawn of happy days 2'00
22 Recitative (Zebul, Jephtha): Such, Jephtha 0'36
23 Chorus of Israelites: When His loud voice in thunder spoke 4'04
24 Recitative (Hamor): Glad tidings of great joy 1'20
25 Chorus of Israelites: Cherub and seraphim 3'34
26 Air (Hamor): Up the dreadful steep ascending 4'56
27 Recitative (Iphis): ’Tis well 0'23
28 Air (Iphis): Tune the soft melodious lute 3'36
29 Recitative (Jephtha): Heav’n smiles once more 0'41
30 Air (Jephtha): His mighty arm 5'19
31 Chorus: In glory high 2'48
 
 
Disc 2
01 Symphony 0'46
02 Recitative (Iphis): Hail, glorious conqueror 0'24
03 Air (Iphis) and Chorus of Virgins: Welcome as the cheerful light 2'04
04 Recitative (Jephtha): Horror, confusion! 0'28
05 Air (Jephtha): Open thy marble jaws 3'08
06 Recitative (Zebul, Jephtha): Why is my brother thus afflicted? 1'13
07 Accompagnato (Storgè): First perish thou 2'07
08 Recitative (Hamor): If such thy cruel purpose 0'25
09 Air (Hamor): On me let blind mistaken zeal 1'54
10 Quartet: Oh, spare your daughter 1'58
11 Recitative and Accompagnato (Iphis): Such news flies swift 1'28
12 Air (Iphis): Happy they 3'06
13 Accompagnato (Jephtha): Deeper, and deeper still 3'02
14 Chorus: How dark, O Lord, are Thy decrees 8'31
15 Accompagnato (Jephtha): Hide thou thy hated beams 2'21
16 Air (Jephtha): Waft her, angels 4'32
17 Recitative (Iphis): Ye sacred priests 0'39
18 Air (Iphis): Farewell, ye limpid springs 5'25
19 Chorus of Priests: Doubtful fear and rev’rent awe 3'16
20 Symphony 1'15
21 Recitative (Angel): Rise, Jephtha 1'15
22 Air (Angel): Happy, Iphis, shalt thou live 4'00
23 Arioso (Jephtha): For ever blessed be Thy holy name 1'00
24 Chorus of Priests: Theme sublime of endless praise 4'00
25 Recitative (Zebul): Let me congratulate 0'32
26 Air (Zebul): Laud her, all ye virgin train 2'05
27 Recitative (Storgè): Oh, let me fold thee 0'19
28 Air (Storgè): Sweet as sight to the blind 2'09
29 Recitative (Hamor): With transport, Iphis 0'32
30 Air (Hamor): ’Tis Heav’n’s all-ruling pow’r 4'51
31 Recitative (Iphis): My faithful Hamor 0'23
32 Quintet: All that is in Hamor mine 3'46
33 Chorus of Israelites: Ye house of Gilead 3'58
34 Applause 0'47
 
  Album total 158'48
ComposerHändel, Georg Friedrich
ConductorBiondi, Fabio
OrchestraStavanger Symphony Orchestra
BaritoneStensvold, Håvard
ChoirCollegium Vocale Gent
TenorGilchrist, James
Mezzo-sopranoJansson, Elisabeth
Kielland, Marianne B.
SopranoJulsrud, Mona
Rapp, Elisabeth

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