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Handel: Solomon / Martini, Et Al

Release Date: 07/25/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557574   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Matthias ViewegNicola WemyssElisabeth SchollKnut Schoch,   ... 
Conductor:  Joachim Carlos Martini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Junge KantoreiFrankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 40 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

After years as a successful opera composer in London, Handel adapted to changes in fashion and turned to oratorios, therefore creating for himself a second career. One of the real masterpieces of this period is Solomon. Premiered in 1749, it's a love story (the Queen of Sheba and Solomon woo and coo) that has as its dramatic centerpiece the story of the two women who claim to be the birth mother of the same child. The work is filled with marvelous, big choruses (some in eight parts), is scored for large orchestra, and has a grandeur that is undeniable.

This is a fine performance of it, with a rich-voiced mezzo, Ewa Wolak, in the title role. (Oddly enough, it was composed for a mezzo; on his recording, Paul McCreesh uses the
Read more remarkable countertenor Andreas Scholl--historically incorrect but superb nonetheless.) Here, Wolak sings with assuredness and involvement if not quite enough emphasis. Elisabeth Scholl sings the Queen with pure tone and imbues the Second Woman with passion. Tenor Kurt Schoch does well with the difficulties of Zadok the Priest's coloratura, however Matthias Vieweg does not hold up the bass end of the scale well. Chorus and Orchestra are excellent, although the chorus seems to be recorded from a great distance. The McCreesh is the preferred performance--it's certainly more dramatic--but this new one is less than half the price of the other and presents the work honestly and with dignity. (Naxos provides a synopsis but no libretto.)

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Solomon, HWV 67 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Matthias Vieweg (Bass), Nicola Wemyss (Soprano), Elisabeth Scholl (Soprano),
Knut Schoch (Tenor), Ewa Wolak (Alto)
Conductor:  Joachim Carlos Martini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Junge Kantorei,  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1749; London, England 
Date of Recording: 05/30/2004 
Venue:  Live  Eberbach Cloister, Etvilla am Rhein 
Length: 160 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: English 

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