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Handel: Arias / Bryn Terfel, Mackerras


Release Date: 10/14/1997 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 453480   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

“I feel”, sings Terfel with assurance in his voice matching the solemnly, expectantly, ceremonious opening bars; and then, the second time, “I feel”, but now with the awed conviction of one who has experienced “the Deity within”. The adjustment, the change of expression, is small, and no doubt when described sounds obvious enough; but it is typical of the touch which Terfel brings, essentially that of an imaginative intelligence, for generally it does not occur to basses who are about to sing “Arm, arm, ye brave!” that there might be a point in the repetition of those opening words and in the specific development of the recitative. “Israel’s distressful prayer” and the Lord’s “gracious ear” are reflected in a softening and sweetening of the Read more voice, which then gains strength with the decisive emphasis of “set the captive free” and the excitement of “lead us on to victory”. Comparing recordings, one hears authority in early versions, something more mystical in recent ones, but never such alertness as in Terfel: he is the most awake of singers.

And what of his singing, his voice-production, his care for legato? As to the latter, conflict always lurks as expressive emphasis, shading and verbal naturalism assert their rights in the face of pure beauty and the evenness of the singing-line. Terfel is one in whom the rival claims work their way to a compromise, though if one side has to win it will generally be the expressive element. A good example of the compromise is the second track, the “Vouchsafe, o Lord”, quietly and simply sung, preserving the movement’s unity and yet with a power of feeling that, at “let thy mercy lighten upon us”, is as overtly emotional as an operatic aria. “Honour and arms” and “O, ruddier than the cherry” combine evenness and clear articulation of the semiquaver runs, creating an awareness of character (both braggarts and in varying degrees absurd) while maintaining the grace and dignity that are also characteristic. The adapted arias, “Where’er you walk”, “Verdi prati” and “Ombra mai fu”, justify their inclusion readily enough, and it is good to hear Terfel again in the solos from Messiah. Going back to his recording of 1991 under Hickox (Chandos, 3/92), one finds that the voice six years later has been only slightly affected by its hard work and strenuous development, while the style has gained markedly from a realization of what is there to be expressed and in experience as a communicator.

The singing here incorporates a good deal of embellishment, some of it of Sir Charles Mackerras’s devising. He is an excellent conductor for Terfel, sharing with him an appreciation of the zest in Handel. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra appear to share it too, and the recording, though made in the resonant Usher Hall, is vivid and clean.

-- Gramophone [Awards Issue 1997]
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Works on This Recording

1. Serse, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu "Largo" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with "Frondi tenere e belle". 
2. Semele, HWV 58: Where'er you walk by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: English 
3. Judas Maccabaeus, HWV 63: Arm, arm, ye brave by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection begins with "I feel, I feel the Deity within". 
4. Alexander's Feast, HWV 75: Revenge, Timotheus cries by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1736; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 7 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection follows with "Behold, a ghastly band". 
5. Samson, HWV 57: Honour and arms by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1743; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
6. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Va tacito e nascosto by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 6 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
7. Messiah, HWV 56: But who may abide the day of His coming? by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection begins with "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts". 
8. Messiah, HWV 56: The trumpet shall sound by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 8 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
9. Messiah, HWV 56: Why do the nations so furiously rage by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 4 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: English 
10. Berenice, Regina d'Egitto, HWV 38: Si, tra i ceppi by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1737; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
11. Orlando, HWV 31: Sorge infausta una procella by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with "O voi, del mio poter". 
12. Te Deum in D major, HWV 283 "Dettingen": Vouchsafe, O Lord by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1743; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: English 
13. Alcina, HWV 34: Verdi prati by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
14. Messiah, HWV 56: Behold, I tell you a mystery by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 0 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: English 
15. Acis and Galatea, HWV 49 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/1997 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 4 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: This selection begins with "I rage, I melt, I burn!".
Composition written: Cannons, England (1718).
Composition revised: London, England (1736). 

Sound Samples

Judas Maccabaeus HWV 63 / Part 1: I feel the Deity within...Arm, arm ye brave
Judas Maccabaeus HWV 63 / Part 1: Arm, arm ye brave
Te Deum in D, "Dettingen", HWV 283: Vouchsafe, O Lord
Samson HWV 57 / Act 2: Honour and arms scorn such a foe
Berenice: Si, tra i ceppi
Alcina / Act 2: Verdi prati, selve amene
Orlando, HWV 31 / Act 3: O voi, del mio poter
Orlando, HWV 31 / Act 3: Sorge infausta una procella
Acis and Galatea / Act 2: "I rage, I melt, I burn!"
Acis and Galatea / Act 2: "O ruddier than the cherry"
Semele HWV 58 / Act 2: Where'er you walk
Alexander's Feast / Part 2: "Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries" - "Behold, a ghastly band"
Giulio Cesare / Act 1: Va tacito e nascosto
Serse / Act 1: Rec. "Frondi tenere e belle"
Serse / Act 1 HWV40: "Ombra mai fù"
Messiah: Thus saith the Lord
Messiah: But who may abide the day of His coming
Messiah: Why do the nations
Messiah: Behold I tell you
Messiah: The trumpet shall sound

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