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Handel: Acis and Galatea

William Christie , Les Arts Florissants , Sophie Daneman , Patricia Petibon , Paul Agnew , et al. Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £18.95
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Product details

  • Performer: Sophie Daneman, Patricia Petibon, Paul Agnew, Joseph Cornwell, Alan Ewing, et al.
  • Orchestra: Les Arts Florissants
  • Conductor: William Christie
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (5 July 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Erato (Warner Music)
  • ASIN: B00001SIBI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,161 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 Sinfonia 3:15£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Oh, the pleasure of the plains!" [Chorus] 4:47£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Ye verdant plains and woody mountains" [Galatea]0:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Hush, ye pretty warbling quire" [Galatea] 6:29£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Where shall I seek the charming fair?" [Acis] 3:02£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Stay, shepherd, stay!" [Damon]0:19£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Shepherd, what art thou pursuing" [Damon] 3:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Lo! Here my love" [Acis]0:24£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Love in her eyes sits playing" [Acis] 6:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Oh! Didst thou know the pains" [Galatea]0:13£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "As when the dove laments her love" [Galatea] 6:08£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Happy we!" [Acis, Galatea] 2:40£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Acis and Galatea : Act 1 "Happy we!" [Chorus] 1:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Wretched lovers!" [Chorus] 4:22£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "I rage, I melt, I burn" [Polyphemus] 1:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "O ruddier than the cherry" [Polyphemus] 3:02£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Whither, fairest, art thou running" [Polyphemus, Galatea]0:55£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Cease to beauty to be suing" [Polyphemus] 4:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Would you gain the tender creature" [Damon] 5:39£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "His hideous love provokes my rage" [Acis]0:21£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Love sounds th'alarm" [Acis] 4:32£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Consider, fond shepherd" [Coridon] 6:33£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen23. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Cease, oh cease, thou gentle youth" [Galatea]0:24£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen24. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "The flocks shall leave the mountains" [Acis, Galatea, Polyphemus] 2:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen25. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Help, Galatea! Help, ye parent gods" [Acis] 1:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen26. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Mourn, all ye muses!" [Chorus] 3:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen27. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Must I my Acis still bemoan" [Galatea, Chorus] 6:05£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen28. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "'Tis done - thus I exert pow'r divine" [Galatea]0:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen29. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Heart, the seat of soft delight" [Galatea] 3:35£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen30. Acis and Galatea : Act 2 "Galatea, dry thy tears" [Chorus] 3:02£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description


Handel's sunny pastorale ("oratorio" seems too imposing a word) Acis and Galatea is just the thing to cheer you up if you're feeling gloomy, its bittersweet ending notwithstanding. It gets performed and recorded these days in several different versions, ranging from Handel's chamber-scaled 1718 original (using only five soloists, who also make up the chorus) to a German-language arrangement by Mozart with four-part choir and orchestra. William Christie's version follows the one that Handel used for a 1739 revival of the piece, in which he gave the sidekick role of Damon (originally for tenor) to a boy soprano and tacked onto Acis and Galatea's duet "Happy We" a choral reprise. The gentle nymph Galatea is the perfect role for Sophie Daneman's light soprano; Paul Agnew's gorgeous tenor is just as well suited to Acis--ardent and brave, yet light enough that you can believe the giant Polyphemus could crush him with a rock. Because he's the villain, Polyphemus is one of the few characters at whose stupidity one can laugh without feeling mean-spirited; the only problem with Alan Ewing's beautifully sung reading is that it's not very funny--it's perhaps too musically nuanced for a character that dumb. As Damon, Patricia Petibon sounds a bit ripe for a shepherd boy, but she's superb, and her embellishments are ingenious (if not particularly spontaneous); tenor Joseph Cornwell as Coridon gives a marvellous (and surprisingly robust) rendition of "Would You Gain The Tender Creature". Conductor William Christie has chosen well--not just his singers but also his tempi: for example, "Must I My Acis Still Bemoan" is much slower than usual, and much more convincingly sad. We think of Christie as a French baroque specialist, but he shows a real feeling for Handel here. --Matthew Westphal

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful recording of a wonderful piece 26 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
When one wants to get a recording of a baroque piece, particularly a vocal one, there are usually two posiibilities. You may go for a non-authentic performance with world-class singers that are really not particularly suited for baroque music, while the conductors and the orchestras sound like they would rather do Wagner than Handel. On the plus side you get real drama and excitement. Or you may choose to go for a period performance, which, although scholarly, often sounds dead and without any individuality. In the case of this recording, you get the best of both worlds. This is a period performance and it sounds like Handel, but at the same time the score breathes and the singers are involved. One of Christie's best efforts. Daneman may not have the virtuosity of a Sutherland, but her voice and style are more suited to this type of repertoire, and she sounds young and vulnerable in many of her solos. Agnew has a beautiful if small voice as Acis, and he finds a note of sensuality in Acis' second air. Ewing makes Polyphemus rather comic, without much cruelty in his voice, but this is maybe the way Handel wanted it. If you are unfamiliar with the cantata, it is one of the most intimate and melodic of all Handel, and makes a perfect introduction to baroque opera.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully sung and played 28 Mar 2009
By enthusiast TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This is truly wonderful. The singing is outstanding - the voices strikingly beautiful - and the small group of players making a ravishing sound. Christie does tend towards fast speeds in the first half but there are no real costs to this approach - beauty and articulation are first rate. Also his use of very small chamber forces may not be to all tastes but works wonderfully well. I find it hard to imagine anyone not being totally captivated by these discs. This really is something very special.
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 27 Mar 2006
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Acis and Galatea is a delightful early work composed by Handel for James Brydges at Cannons. Unfortunately, this recording is very disappointing. Just two examples of a general lack of stylistic sympathy are insensitive and consistently perverse tempi in the first half which alienate the listener, and the miscalculated casting of bland soprano voices for Damon and Corydon. The second CD is just about acceptable, but by then you really wont care. Far better to track down the John Elliott Gardiner recording from DG with Willard White.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb performance of an offbeat work 9 Feb 2004
By madamemusico - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In the history of opera, "Acis and Galatea" occupies a strange niche. Too short and too episodic to really be considered an opera in the true sense of the word, its light, buoyant score has nevertheless survived 300 years because it is just so good. Where else except perhaps in "Messiah" did Handel come up with so many bouyant, heartwarming melodies--"Hush, ye pretty warbling quire," "Shepherd, what art thou pursuing?", "Love in her eyes sits playing," "As when the dove laments her love," "Happy we," "O ruddier than the cherry" and "Love sounds th' alarm"--backed by such sensitive and original scoring? Granted, most of the score tends towards the lyrical than the allegro, but its deceptive simplicity is exactly what makes it a treasure to listen to.
This is the most spirited performance I've heard since the old Sutherland-Pears, and the most transparent playing and singing I've heard since the Gardiner recording, with a lilt and life all its own. Paul Agnew is a good English tenor, Daneman's slightly fluttery soprano sounds uncommonly good as Galatea, Petibon does a nice job with Damon, and Alan Ewing is a fine, rich-voiced Polyphemus (though he, like all other Polyphemuses since the great Peter Dawson, aspirates his runs in "O ruddier than the cherry"). Christie's conducting, which can sometimes sound a bit staid on records, just bubbles over with life here. A must-have for Handelians, or anyone else who likes Baroque music but is not a fan of the vocal frills and furbelows found in most early 18th-century opera.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another William Christie winner 14 Oct 1999
By Gerardo Cabrera Munoz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This delightful pastoral cantata has not been as lucky on record as one would wish. The old Gardiner recording has been the general recommendation for over 20 years, but now comes this new ERATO recording and easily swipes the board. The singers are marvelous, especially the full voiced tenor Paul Agnew, but it is the conducting of William Christie that makes this set so very special. Don't miss it, it's delightful.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars et in arcadia ego 26 Mar 2003
By Anthony Adler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
While I must grant Stuart Howard whatever cup of tea pleases him best, I simply cannot fathom how he could find "Acis and Galatea" "relentlessly sugary-sweet." This music is sweet, yet it is a sweetness shrouded in a melancholy that is all the more profound for lacking all psychological and dramatic motivation, historical pomp, philosophical convolution, and all those other things that amaze small minds but only distract from the true wonder of mortal life. Where else, after all, are "depths" to be found than in love, beauty, joy, sorrow, death, the relation of Gods to Humans --- and what better stands repetition than a work which presents those passions in their purity whose own repetition and alternation is the ineradicable substance of life itself?
In the words of the poet Hölderlin:
Wer das Tiefste gedacht, liebt das Lebendigste,
Hohe Jugend versteht, wer in die Welt geblickt,
Und es neigen die Weisen
Oft am Ende zu Schönem sich.
(Who has thought the deepest, loves what is most alive,
He who has glanced into the world, understands high youth,
And the wise often incline
In the end to the beautiful)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 6 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In this recording by William Christie's crack band of players, the scale is very intimate so one can feel the textures of each individual instrument. No, you will not get the power of a large-scale Messiah, but this piece of art is of a different nature. It is about the open air, the deep love between a shepherd and a nymph, and the tragedy caused by a jealous cyclops. The vocal soloists are all in top form, especially the ladies Daneman and Petibon who seem to be singing sweetly right there in the room with you. A triumph!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Will Charm You 8 Dec 2005
By M. C. Passarella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Wonderfully entertaining, both Handel's delicious music and William Christie's equally delicious performance. Christie's expert orchestra is in especially fine form and captured in an acoustical setting that permits the delicacies of this intimate entertainment to shine but never overwhelm. It is like hearing the work in the hall of one of the great houses of England, which it indeed was in its day.

The soloists are all top-notch, but special praise must be accorded Bass Alan Ewing. His air "O ruddier than the cherry" is delightfully ardent, straying to just this side of the outright randy, if that's an appropriate adjective for a character from a Handel entertainment. It is--just listen to "Semele" sometime! Fine work as well in this air from Sebastien Marq playing the sopranino recorder, a fey little touch by Handel that is just one of many wonderful instrumental flourishes given the royal treatment by Les Arts Florissants.
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