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Georg Friedrich HAENDEL (1685 - 1759)
Friedensode - Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne * [24.25]
Utrechter Te Deum ** [21.59]
*Inge Uibel, soprano
Ingeborg Springer, alto
Eberhard Büchner, tenor
Armin Thalheim, harpsichord
**Inge Uibel, soprano
Gisela Pohl, mezzo-soprano
Eberhard Büchner, tenor
Hans-Jurgen Wachsmeth, tenor
Siegfried Lorenz, baritone
Michael Pohl, organ
Berliner Singakademie
Kammerorchester Berlin, Dietrich Knothe, conductor
Rec: 1976

BERLIN CLASSICS 0031882BC [46.24]

When the young Haendel arrived in London, he brought with him the reputation of a composer of operas and solo cantatas. It was 1712, and, since Henry Purcell died in 1698, England had been longing for a composer who could maintain the English musical tradition. It wasn't long before Haendel took up the challenge, and was quickly accepted as the heir of Purcell; the new English master.

The two works on this disc date from this period. The first, the Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, is a German cantata for three solo singers, choir and orchestra. At times an intimate work, with small-scale arias accompanied by continuo, at times a grander work, with the choir joining the orchestra, this is a delightful example of Haendel's mastery of melody; the highlights of this work are especially the duo arias. Its slightly fawning text (including the phrase, "The day that gave great Anna birth, who fix'd a lasting peace on earth," seven times) is married to masterful melodies. The three central arias, duos with soprano and bass or alto, are fine examples of the type of arias Haendel later developed in his operas.

The Utrechter Te Deum is one of Haendel's finest sacred works. Originally designed for a five-voice choir, five solo singers, and an orchestra augmented with timpani and trumpets, this opulent work was very popular, and was performed in annual alternation with Purcell's Te Deum.

A fine choral work, featuring movements that alternate between the choir and the soloists, this is a dialogue between the singers and choir. Again, it shows signs of what Haendel would later compose in his larger works. The soloist are all excellent here, and their voices work well together.

It is unfortunate that the texts of these works are not included in the notes.

Two extremely fine works by Haendel. Strong examples of his early work, they both contain beautiful vocal passages and excellent choral movements.

Kirk McElhearn



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