Handel: Alexander's Feast

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Ludus Baroque, a festival chorus and orchestra made up of young performers who are specialists in Baroque, convene in Edinburgh twice a year to perform a major choral work by Handel or Bach. Under the leadership of Richard Neville-Towle, who founded the festival, the chorus and orchestra deliver a spirited performance of Handel's "Alexander's Feast," its first commercial recording. It's an appealing score, full of delightful surprises and colorful invention, and was one of the composer's most popular works during his lifetime. Ludus Baroque is a relatively small ensemble, with a chorus of 18 members and an orchestra of 21, so they have more flexibility than a large ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Ludus Baroque, a festival chorus and orchestra made up of young performers who are specialists in Baroque, convene in Edinburgh twice a year to perform a major choral work by Handel or Bach. Under the leadership of Richard Neville-Towle, who founded the festival, the chorus and orchestra deliver a spirited performance of Handel's "Alexander's Feast," its first commercial recording. It's an appealing score, full of delightful surprises and colorful invention, and was one of the composer's most popular works during his lifetime. Ludus Baroque is a relatively small ensemble, with a chorus of 18 members and an orchestra of 21, so they have more flexibility than a large chorus, and they sing with precision and discipline. When required to, they can produce a very large sound, as in "The many rend the skies with loud applause," which does in fact threaten to rend the skies in its volume. The orchestra, using period instruments, plays with fleet lightness and agility. Tenor Ed Lyon gets off to an unpromising start that's burdened with the stereotypical mannerisms of the worst of English oratorio singing -- no "r" left unrolled, precious and overly precise pronunciation, strained tone, and labored coloratura -- but he loosens up, and his aria "War, he sung, is toil and trouble," is fully effective. Sophie Bevan handles the soprano part with a silvery, elegant tone and is especially graceful in the lovely arias "The Prince, unable to conceal his pain," and "Thais led the way." Bass William Berger's part is small but he makes the most of it and his two martial arias are impressively powerful. The sound is generally clean, warm, well-balanced, and spacious. There are several inelegant edits, though, where a fraction of a beat gets added or removed, creating an annoying stutter that interrupts the flow of the performance.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/14/2011
  • Label: Delphian
  • UPC: 801918340949
  • Catalog Number: 34094
  • Sales rank: 288,574

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–29 Alexander's Feast, ode for St. Cecilia's Day, HWV 75 - George Frideric Handel & John Dryden (82:26)
    Composed byGeorge Frideric Handel
    Conducted byRichard Neville-Towle
    Performed byEdward Lyon, William Berger, Sophie Bevan, Richard Neville-Towle, Ludus Baroque
    1. 1Part 1. Ouverture
    2. 2Part 1. Recitative. 'Twas at the royal feast
    3. 3Part 1. Air and Chorus. Happy, happy, happy pair!
    4. 4Part 1. Recitative. Timotheus, plac'd on high
    5. 5Part 1. Recitative. The song began from Jove
    6. 6Part 1. Chorus. The list'ning crowd admire the lofty sound
    7. 7Part 1. Air. With ravish'd ears the monarch hears
    8. 8Part 1. Recitative. The praise of Bacchus
    9. 9Part 1. Air. Bacchus, ever fair and young
    10. 10Part 1. Recitative. Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain
    11. 11Part 1. Recitative. He chose a mournful Muse
    12. 12Part 1. Air. He sung Darius, great and good
    13. 13Part 1. Recitative. With downcast looks the joyless victor sate
    14. 14Part 1. Chorus. Behold Darius great and good
    15. 15Part 1. Recitative. The mighty master smil'd to see
    16. 16Part 1. Arioso. Softly sweet in Lydian measures
    17. 17Part 1. Air. War, he sung, is toil and trouble
    18. 18Part 1. Chorus. The many rend the skies with loud applause
    19. 19Part 1. Air. The prince, unable to conceal his pain
    20. 20Part 2. Recitative and Chorus. Now strike the golden Lyre again
    21. 21Part 2. Air. Revenge, Timotheus cries
    22. 22Part 2. Recitative. Give the vengeance due
    23. 23Part 2. Air. The princes applaud with a furious joy
    24. 24Part 2. Air and Chorus. Thais led the way
    25. 25Part 2. Recitative. Thus, long ago
    26. 26Part 2. Grand Chorus. At last divine Cecilia came
    27. 27Part 2. Recitative. Let old Timotheus yield the prize
    28. 28Part 2. Chorus. Let old Timotheus yield the prize
    29. 29Part 2. Chorus. Your voices tune, and raise them high
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Richard Neville-Towle Primary Artist
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