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Bach: Magnificat; Handel / Haďm, Dessay, Jaroussky, Et Al

Release Date: 11/20/2007 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 95241   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachGeorge Frideric Handel
Performer:  Toby SpenceKarine DeshayesPhilippe JarousskyNatalie Dessay,   ... 
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haďm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert d'Astrée
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

BACH Magnificat. HANDEL Dixit Dominus Emmanuelle Haîm, cond; Natalie Dessay (sop); Karine Deshayes (sop); Philippe Jaroussky (ct); Toby Spence (ten); Laurent Naouri (bs); Les Concert d’Astrée VIRGIN 95241 (56:06 Text and Translation)

What a wonderful contrast! Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Magnificat represent the two oft-compared composers at Read more their most extrovert. The 38-year old Bach, born and tied to the Lutheran heartland and required to eschew “operatic” excess, produced a work of intense devotional piety. Handel, born in nearby Halle but a resident of Hanseatic Hamburg, was 22 and studying in Rome when he wrote his Dixit . He had already written two Italian operas, and his career path clearly pointed in that direction. The Dixit is as extravagant as Bach’s Magnificat is controlled. The two pieces are such a good fit that one wonders why they haven’t turned up together more frequently, if, in fact, they have at all.

Good ideas do not always yield good results, but, happily, this one does. Haîm leads splendid performances that abound in energy and excitement. Haîm’s solo quintet (two sopranos in the Magnificat) is splendid, and the midsized (6-5-6-6-6), mixed chorus fully capable of meeting the challenges posed not only by the composers but also by the director. Handel’s Gloria Patri, the finale of the Dixit , brings the whole disc to a triumphant close with a breath-taking burst of corporate virtuosity. Virgin’s engineers round off a most satisfying effort.

I have a limited number of Dixit s from which to choose, Preston having topped the list until now, but Haîm is a strong challenger. My preference for the Magnificat will probably remain with Hickox (paired with Vivaldi’s Gloria ). For the combination, however, this disc is definitely worth investigating.

FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Toby Spence (Tenor), Karine Deshayes (Mezzo Soprano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor),
Natalie Dessay (Soprano), Laurent Naouri (Baritone)
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haďm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert d'Astrée
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1728-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: Latin 
Dixit Dominus, HWV 232 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Karine Deshayes (Mezzo Soprano), Laurent Naouri (Baritone),
Natalie Dessay (Soprano), Toby Spence (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haďm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert d'Astrée
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1707; Italy 
Language: Latin 

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