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Handel: Samson / Daneman, Gottwald, Slattery, Mcgegan

Handel / Cooley / Daneman
Release Date: 06/09/2009 
Label:  Carus   Catalog #: 83425  
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  William BergerFranziska GottwaldThomas CooleySophie Daneman,   ... 
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio ChorusGöttingen Festival Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 2 Hours 46 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Handel’s English oratorios, though unstaged, generally remain vividly theatrical. Samson is less operatic, opening with the hero already defeated, blinded and in chains, long after Dalila’s seduction and subsequent treachery.

The drama is of the mind rather than of action, with virtually no incidents in Act I, and Act II limited to two encounters, Dalila offering remorse and the giant Harapha mocking the captive.

Nicholas McGegan’s approach focuses on this depiction of states of mind and emotions. Tempos are reflective rather than animated, while instrumental expression and phrasing is strikingly subtle. Of his soloists, Thomas Cooley makes a tragic Samson, from his first soliloquy on his mental anguish, through
Read more a heart-rending ‘Total eclipse’ to his humility and returning strength in Act III.

Among many high points is the ‘Scena’ opening Act II, Micah’s ‘Return O God of Hosts’ with deeply sensitive orchestral support, the astonishingly unpredictable tonality of the middle section, the chorus joining in the da capo repeat. Sophie Daneman is a convincing Dalila, though every sustained note acquires a rather prominent vibrato.

Doubling as ‘An Israelite woman’ in Act III, her fast passage-work in ‘Let the bright Seraphim’ is thrilling. Other characters are no less strong, Wolf Matthias Friedrich a mighty, arrogant Harapha, and William Berger, as Samson’s father Manoa, a tragic onlooker.

Nicholas McGegan’s chorus numbers almost 50, large by today’s fashion, but transparent and characterful in its roles as Israelites and Philistines. The SACD recording retains crystal clarity in the dangerously reverberant acoustic of Dresden’s Frauenkirche.

Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

-- George Pratt, BBC Music Magazine


This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Samson, HWV 57 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  William Berger (Bass), Franziska Gottwald (Alto), Thomas Cooley (Tenor),
Sophie Daneman (Soprano), Michael Slattery (Tenor), Wolf Matthias Friedrich (Bass)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Chorus,  Göttingen Festival Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1743; London, England 

Sound Samples

Samson, HWV 57: Symphony
Samson, HWV 57: Menuet
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 1: Recitative: This day, a solemn feast to Dagon held (Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 1: Awake the trumpet's lofty sound! (Chorus)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 1: Air: Ye men of Gaza (Philistine Woman)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 1: Air: Loud as the thunder's awful voice (Philistine Man)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 1: Recitative: Why by an angel was my birth foretold (Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 1: Air: Torments alas! are not confin'd (Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 2: Recitative: O change beyond report, thought, or belief! (Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 2: Air: O mirror of our fickle state! (Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 2: Recitative: Whom have I to complain of but myself (Samson, Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 2: Air: Totel eclipse! (Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 2: Oh first created beam! (Chorus)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 2: Recitative: Ye see, my friends, how woes enclosed me round (Samson, Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Recitative: Brethren and men of Dan, say, where is my son (Manoa, Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Recitative: Oh miserable change! (Manoa)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Air: God of our fathers, what is man? (Israelite Man)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Recitative: The good we wish for, often proves our bane (Manoa)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Air: Thy glorious deeds inspir'd my tongue (Manoa)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Recitative: My griefs for this (Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Air: Why does the God of Israel sleep? (Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Then shall they know (Chorus)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Recitative: For thee, my dearest son (Manoa, Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act I Scene 3: Then round about the starry throne (Chorus)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 1: Recitative: Trust yet (Manoa, Samson, Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 1: Air: Return, oh God of hosts! (Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Recitative: But who is this, that so bedeck'd and gay (Micah, Samson, Dalila)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Air: With plaintive notes and am'rous moan (Dalila)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Recitative: Did love constrain thee? (Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Air: Your charms to ruin led the way (Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Recitative: Forgive what's done, nor think of what's past cure (Dalila)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Duet: My faith and truth (Dalila, Virgin)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Air: To fleeting pleasures make your court (Dalila, Chorus)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Recitative: Ne'er think of that! (Samson, Dalila)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 2: Duet: Traitor to love! (Dalila Samson) - Scene 3: Recitative: She's gone! (Micah Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 3: Air: It is not virtue, valour, wit (Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 3: To man God's universal law (Chorus)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 4: Recitative: No words of peace (Micah, Harapha, Samson)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 4: Air: Honour and arms scorn such a foe (Harapha)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 4: Recitative: Cam'st thou for this (Samson, Harapha)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 4: Duet: Go, baffled coward, go (Samson, Harapha)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 4: Recitative: Here lie the proof (Micah)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 4: Hear, Jacob's God, Jehovah (Chorus)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 4: Air: To song and dance (Chorus)
Samson, HWV 57: Act II Scene 4: Fix'd in his everlasting seat (Dalila, Samson, Harapha, Manoa, Chorus)

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