Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Although a return visit to my previous favorite Solomon--John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir on Philips, from 1984--confirms its continued place as the reference version, this new one, recorded live at the gorgeously rebuilt Frauenkirche Dresden in May, 2007, offers solid competition, its crisp articulation, lively tempos, strong dramatic atmosphere, and vibrant sound making a satisfying all-around impression. And happily, there's not anything significant in the way of stage or audience noise to distract from the music.
Soloists are critical in this work, and although Gardiner's have the collective edge in consistency of
technique, Nicholas McGegan's need make no apologies, especially the Solomon of countertenor Tim Mead (Gardiner uses mezzo Carolyn Watkinson; Handel wrote the part for a contralto) and tenor Michael Slattery as Zadok, both of whom contribute some very lovely singing. Solomon features some of Handel's most magnificent choruses and orchestral passages, opulently scored and here fully exploited in (and benefiting from) the large acoustic space of the Frauenkirche. McGegan moves things along with a keen sense of theatrical pacing, giving his singers room but never allowing the big numbers to drag. Some of the best arias and most exciting choruses come in Acts 2 and 3, and McGegan and his able forces really shine here, leading up to a powerful climax in the big double chorus "Praise the Lord" in Act 3. In all, this is a grand and glorious effort, worthy of Handel's extraordinary, delightfully extravagant, unusually colorful depiction of an equally grand and glorious subject. Recommended!
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Solomon, HWV 67 by George Frideric Handel
Dominique Labelle (Soprano),
Michael Slattery (Tenor),
Roderick Williams (Baritone),
Timothy Mead (Alto)
Winchester Cathedral Choir,
Göttingen Festival Orchestra
Written: by 1749; London, England
Venue: Live Frauenkirche, Dresden, Germany
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