Magazine article Gramophone

Handel: Israel in Egypt

Magazine article Gramophone

Handel: Israel in Egypt

Article excerpt

Handel

Israel in Egypt, HWV54 Julia Doyle, Maria Valdmaa sops David Allsopp counterten James Gilchrist ten Roderick Williams, Peter Harvey basses Netherlands Chamber Choir; Le Concert Lorrain / Roy Goodman

Etcetera (F) (2) KTC1517 (112' * DDD) Recorded live

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Handel's first version of Israel in Egypt (1739) included a makeshift first part parodied from the anthem The ways of Zion do mourn, composed for the funeral of Queen Caroline in 1737. Andrew Parrott's trailblazing premiere recording of Handel's original version remains the high benchmark but one of the best alternatives is Roy Goodman's Brandenburg Consort accompanying the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, conducted by Stephen Cleobury. Now at the helm of the ship, Goodman's live recording was made by Radio Bremen without any post-concert patching.

The pacing and articulation of the excellent band Le Concert Lorrain are consistently insightful and sympathetic, and the accomplished Netherlands Chamber Choir offer plenty of merits. The counterpoint is shaped exquisitely in 'The sons of Israel do mourn', with judicious balance between plaintive oboes and strings. The exclamatory refrains 'How is the mighty fall'n' are reiterated with ideally realised dissonances, rhythmical poise and dramatic power. …

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