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Handel: Gideon / Martini, Hannigan, Perillo, Wemyss, Et Al


Release Date: 07/20/2004 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557312-13   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Christopher Smith
Performer:  Barbara HanniganNicola WemyssDavid CordierLinda Perillo,   ... 
Conductor:  Joachim Carlos Martini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Junge KantoreiFrankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 32 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Gideon is an oratorio put together after Handel’s death by John Christopher Smith, son of the composer’s long-serving secretary and copyist of the same name...One thing should be made plain at once about Gideon (and this, I fear, constitutes a slap on the wrist for Naxos): the balance of materials included by the younger Smith is, on the evidence of Naxos’s own booklet, not at all as described in the blurb on the back of the box. There, we are told “The 1769 oratorio Gideon, with a new libretto by Handel’s former collaborator Thomas Morell, uses music largely drawn from Handel’s work, sacred and secular, with a lesser number of elements by Smith himself.” A careful count of the sources enumerated with admirable clarity in the booklet, Read more however, yields a total of 21 movements taken over from Handel and 52 either newly composed for the work by Smith or drawn by him from his own earlier works. Granted, most of Smith’s contributions are shorter in duration than those from Handel, but my accounting still shows a duration of 75:17 for the Handel elements and 76:36 for those by Smith.

That said, it should be added that Smith not only makes his Handelian choices with acumen, but was himself a composer of fair accomplishment. The Handel movements tend to be much more memorable in material, more debonair in manner, and in the concluding chorus with solos, “Wondrous are thy works, O Lord,” spine-tinglingly grand, but some of Smith’s contributions, such as the chorus “Destroy these idols” that he adapted from his oratorio The Feast of Darius, and a folksy trio, “Like a bright cherub,” which recalls the vernacular style of John Gay’s runaway hit The Beggar’s Opera, are well worth hearing for their own merits. As for the Handel pieces he chose, it is clear that the younger Smith knew his way around the collection of manuscripts he had inherited from his father... Morell’s libretto, which recounts Gideon’s destruction of the idol of Baal, the defeat of the Midianites, and the miracle of the fleece, is serviceable if rarely inspired...the solo singing is good, the three sopranos and countertenor making the most positive impression, and there is some stylish embellishment."

Bernard Jacobson, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1. Gideon by John Christopher Smith
Performer:  Barbara Hannigan (Soprano), Nicola Wemyss (Mezzo Soprano), David Cordier (Countertenor),
Linda Perillo (Soprano), Stephan Macleod (Bass), Knut Schoch (Tenor)
Conductor:  Joachim Carlos Martini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Junge Kantorei,  Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1769; London, England 
Language: English 
Notes: This work is partly an adaptation of works by George Frideric Handel in addition to Smith's own previously and newly composed material. 

Sound Samples

Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Ouverture
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Menuet
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - Forth from the swarming East
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Soli and Chorus - Comfort us, O Lord
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - A man, a prophet
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Accompagnato - No wonder, that ye fly
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Air - Trembling with horror
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Soli and Chorus - Lord, we seek thy blessing
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - Westward from reverend Jordan's silver stream
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Accompagnato: By doubt and shame
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Air - Rise with furious Emulation
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - As thus he sung
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Air - Thou light of Israel
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Accompagnato - Let the command suffice
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - He said, and gently stretching out
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Solo and Chorus - Immortal God, whose hand
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - A Midian prince
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Air - Mighty Belus, Midian's glory!
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - This done, he with a chosen party went
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Air - 'Tis time, my sons'
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - Forth from the town
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Duet - Sweet is conquest disapproving
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Trio - Like a bright cherub
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - Then bowing mild
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Air - May kind angels still attend thee
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Recitative - And thus the choral band
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 1: Chorus - Hail, enlivener of our cause!
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - Triumphant to the town
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Air - How sweet the rose
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Soli and Chorus - Great Jehovah
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - Th'assembly rose
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Air - Israel's guardian, sole creator!
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - Silent he march'd
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Air - Hark, how the winds around
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Chorus - Destroy these idols
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - Gideon, preparing now
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Accompagnato & Recitative - Not these imperfect rites
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Air - O glorious mortal
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - At morn rose Baal's Priest
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Accompagnato - No more thus loud
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Trio - From the mountain's brow
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - Here had contention drawn
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Air - Sons of Israel, let not frenzy
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - The priest still beats his breast
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Air - Return! Tumultuous ruin shun!
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - While yet he spake
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Accompagnato - Furious revenge
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Solo and Chorus - All glory be to thee, o Lord!
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Recitative - Sudden the Priest of Baal
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 2: Solo and Chorus - Glorious patron! Glorious hero!
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - Much I applaud, brave youth
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Chorus - Let Jehovah by miracle confirm
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - Now, while the multitude
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Accompagnato - Thou sacred, high, unutterable Name!
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - His pray'r was heard
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Accompagnato - Once more, my God
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - He spoke, and it was so
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Soli and Chorus - Happy Nation
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - Now each rous'd soldier
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Air - Let the trumpet's sound inviting
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - Let Gideon, our undaunted hero
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Air - Tho' now fall'n, dismay'd
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - Thanks to my countrymen
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Air - From your idol gods returning
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - Alarm'd by frequent
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Air - In notes of joy we hail the happy day
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - Ye sons of Israel
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Air and Chorus - Sing and rejoyce!
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - To meet the hero
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Accompagnato - Ye see, that God
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Duet - Sweet Peace, from Heav'n descending
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Recitative - Our hearts their confidence
Gideon (compiled by J. C. Smith): Part 3: Soli and Chorus - Wondrous are thy works, O Lord!

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