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Handel - Oratorio Arias

David Daniels Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £11.00
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Frequently Bought Together

Handel - Oratorio Arias + Handel: Operatic Arias + Rivals - Arias for Farinelli & Co.
Price For All Three: £35.24

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Product details

  • Conductor: John Nelson
  • Audio CD (5 Aug 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000066I62
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 224,243 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

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

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Belshazzar: Aria: Destructive WarDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 2:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Belshazzar: Aria: Oh sacred oracles of TruthDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 5:02£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Semele: Aria: Despair no more shall wound meDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 4:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Semele: Aria: Your tuneful voiceDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 5:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Theodora: Aria: The raptured soulDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 8:14£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Theodora: Aria: Kind HeavenDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 7:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Theodora: Aria: Deeds of kindnessDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 5:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Theodora: Aria: Sweet rose and lilyDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 2:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Saul: Aria: Brave JonathanDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 3:06£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Saul: Aria: O Lord, whose mercies numberlessDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 3:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Jephtha: Aria: Up the dreadful steep ascendingDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 3:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Jephtha: Aria: Dull delayDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris 3:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Messiah HWV56: He was despisedDavid Daniels/John Nelson/Martin Isepp/Ensemble Orchestral De Paris10:46Album Only

Product Description


This is an absolutely splendid recording. The music is beautiful, though of the 13 arias only the one from Messiah is well-known; the rest come from relatively obscure oratorios (or operas--the distinction is often blurred). Artfully arranged for maximum diversity of tempo, length, tonality, mood and character, they add up to a consistently engrossing programme.

The performances could hardly be better. David Daniels is an extraordinary artist: his voice, effortlessly produced and impeccably focused, has an incredibly pure, even quality over an enormous range and he can give it infinite variety of nuance, inflection, and expression--from exquisite sweetness in the lyrical arias to assertiveness and defiance in the dramatic ones; it even matches the colour of the instruments in answering phrases. His coloratura, delivered in smooth legato, but clear and flawless like a string of pearls, is stunning. He gives every note vibrant life and brings out the character of each aria without fuss or exaggeration. In the da capo arias, he embellishes the repeats with imaginative but never excessive ornamentation that sounds genuinely improvised.

The period orchestra is excellent; using normal tuning but baroque style, the players can step forward as soloists or set and underline mood and atmosphere. Listeners will choose their own favourite gems from this treasure trove, but listening to the concluding aria, "He was despised," one understands why Messiah is Handel's most enduringly popular oratorio. --Edith Eisler

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David has done it again! 24 Aug 2002
Format:Audio CD
A long awaited release, by me anyway, and it is, as always, a pleasure. I must say I was very pleased with the cover this time (well...it is an important selling point and he DOES look good, so sale figures should be on the rise as we speak).
Anyway..back to the music. David has this time turned to the master himself for inspiration and has come up with 13 brilliant arias from a variety of Handels oratorios. We have already heard him in opera arias from Handel and we know this is one of the things he does well and suits his voice. The selection of arias is well chosen and contains a wealth of treasures. Try the arias from "Theodora", he has performed this oratorio on stage and it is clear, from the arias, that he loves this music. His voice is clear and wonderful and he sings the arias with much relish and conviction. Even though the oratorios that Handel wrote was intended for the concert stage and not as a full stage performance, the arias are as dramatic as the arias heard in the operas and I bet David would have made a wonderful job of performing them (get the video/dvd of his performance in Theodora at Glyndbourne and you will see what I mean!).
If you need any persuasion to buy this record try the following tracks, "Despair no more shall wound me" from Semele,the lovely "Kind Heaven" from Theodora and the stunning "He was despised" from Messiah. The orchestra is the Ensemble Orchestra de Paris and it is conducted by John Nelson. I would not hesitate to add this to my collection of David Daniels records. Happy listening!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb musical performances 29 Dec 2012
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
Any fan of David Daniels will love this CD programme of arias. IT is fine in every respect. First the orchestral accompaniment is superb; well articulated playing in fast moments and beautiful tone in quiet ones. John Nelson obviously understands this style of music and gives Daniels an excellent accompanying ensemble on which to layer his own performances. There is little point in writing endless superlatives for David Daniels's singing. He is a countertenor at the top of his career - he produces glorious tone in performances that are demonstrate a deep understanding of Handel's music. His Handel Opera CD with Norrington is at the top of my list of favourites and is now joined by this CD of Oratorio Arias. For lovers of the Baroque as well as fans of David Daniels, this CD is a must.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful recital 23 Sep 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For once, I'll be brief. Beautiful singing and playing. Daniels performance of "Oh, Lord whose mercies numberless" is alone worth the price of the CD. Mr. Daniels is a consummate musician and this release further gives proof of that. Lovers of Handel and baroque music in general and English oratorios in particular will be more than delighted with this CD. Sit back and enjoy.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Sublime Voice on the Planet 19 Sep 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
While David Daniels' brilliant coloratura is in evidence in several numbers on this disc (a breathtaking "Destructive War," from Belshazzar, and "Despair no more shall wound me," from Semele), it's in the slower, more contemplative arias that his singing reaches the sublime. "He was despised" and "Oh Lord, whose mercies numberless" show Daniels at his incomparable best, with his unbelievable breath control, melting legato, and exquisite vocal coloring. This is the most instantly recognizable and beautiful voice before the public today.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan 7 Oct 2006
By George Peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This recording in my opinion displays more than any other the versatility of David Daniel's perfomances. He shifts easily from character to character in these oratorios, his voice always making the necessary adjustments to do so. His tone quality is even throughout his range and his diction is always clear and precise, even at breakneck speeds as in the aria from 'Belshazzar'.

Handel's oratorio style was the product of many mingled elements. Germany, Italy and England all had a hand in its formation. But the work that Handel did in the development of the oratorio alone gives him the right to rank among the greatest of those to whom we owe the modern forms of music. David Daniels to my mind has chosen six of the greatest of Handel's oratorios.

'Belshazzar' was written to a text based on the book of Daniel, by the rich and eccentric land-owner Charles Jennens with whom he collaborated many times. 'O Sacred Oracle of Truth' is sung by the imprisoned prophet Daniel, while 'Destructive War' is sung by the haughty and magnamimous Cyrus, King of Persia, who frees the Hebrews from their slavery under the Babylonian king Belshazzar.

"Semele" is a secular story taken from Greek mythology put into verse by William Congreve. Jupiter lusts after a mortal woman snatching her from her family in the form of an eagle. The young woman, Semele,arouses the jealous anger of Juno, who takes her revenge. As a result of a plot that the goddess hatches,Semele is destroyed by fire. The 2 arias heard here are for Athamas who is betrothed to Semele. He finally gains consolation by marrying Semele's sister.

The heroine of 'Theodora' is a Christian martyr whose life is recounted by St. Ambrose in his 'De virginibus of AD377. When Theodora is punished for refusing to worship the Roman gods, Didymus(a Roman soldier who has secretly converted to Christianity) rescues her from imprisonment; is then condemned to death, Theodora joins him in martyrdom.

The oratorio 'Saul' centres on the celebrated trio of Saul,David and Jonathan. Based on the first book of Samuel, it dealt with a familiar story to most of the public at that time. 'Brave Jonathan' and 'O Lord, whose mercies Numberless' are both sung by David being pursued by a jealous Saul, but is sustained by the staunch friendship of Jonathan.

'Jeptha' is based on Chapter 11 of the book of Judges. The theme; Jeptha's promise to sacrifice to God ,in exchange for a victory over the enemy ,the first person to come out of his house to greet him after the battle; and it is his daughter Iphis. But what the Christian God really demands is that his daughter consecrate herself to Him and thus retain her virginity. And Hamor (countertenor) although very unhappy indeed sighs for her 'Up the Dreadful Steep Ascending' and 'Dull Delay'.

The libretto of the "Messiah" is based on extracts from the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer, arranged by Charles Jennens. Unlike the other oratorios,it does not tell a story. 'He Was Despised' invites the listener to meditate on the horrendous suffering imposed by mankind on Jesus before his crucifixion.

This recording is a 'must' for all Daniels' fans, as well as lovers of Handel's music.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very beautifully intoned 3 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was greatly impressed with this CD. I have always appreciated Daniel's voice over most other countertenors (and there are many wonderful ones that are simply incredible), and mostly for its warmth and lack of "hootiness." The coloratura is well executed, and his legato line is breathtaking. Then why a four star rating? All of these arias are sung in English, and it seems these days NO ONE, not male, female, soprano, alto, countertenor, seem to know how to sing it so you can understand a word. That is why I say this recording is beautifully intoned, for it is beautifully sung. What is missing is actual communication of something, no meaning exists behind the non-existent words. It would have been so much more meaningful if we could have figured out what he was telling us. I have old recordings of Dame Clara Butt, a huge voiced contralto of the past century. She sings much of this type of music, and in spite of the horrible quality of the recordings, her words come blazing forth effortless to understand. Even Ernestine Schumann-Heink sings credibly in English giving meaning to the words. Singing is WORDS, not just music. Sadly, we are all forgetting this now days, and most of our well known singers are simply horrible when it comes to singing in English (I have bought many Chaldas recording of opera in English, well they may as well have sung in the original language for we at least can figure out the words when singers sing thusly). Countertenors have the world's worst pronunciation of their words out there, but Daniels is usually much better because of the darker quality of his voice. This time, however, I have to say, I was not impressed. The voice is beautiful, the singing ravishing, but there is no meaning because the words are not clear.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handling Handel With Unparalleled Skill and Power 8 Aug 2004
By Ed Uyeshima - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you need evidence on why David Daniels has been rising so fast as the leading countertenor voice today, you need only listen to this wonderfully recorded disc of Handel's oratorio arias, which captures him at full vocal power with amazing coloratura. Although the countertenor voice is generally described as androgynous and often effeminate because of the high range, Daniels has an intensely passionate style that actually sounds warmer and more masculine than one would think possible for such a voice type. Consequently, he is playing a pivotal role in broadening the audience significantly for not only countertenors but also Handel's wondrous music.

Daniels' first solo recording for Virgin Classics in 1998 (strongly recommended) focused on Handel's Italian operas, while this one focuses on his English oratorios composed specifically for the concert stage. Except for the language difference, the distinction is not all that meaningful since both fully use Daniels' amazing interpretative powers to their maximum. On "The raptured soul" from "Theodora", for example, it's amazing how through his sheer virtuosity and deeply textured tessitura, he can make the repetition of six simple lines sound so compelling over an air that lasts nearly nine minutes. Speaking of which, it's quite satisfying to have four airs from "Theodora" recorded here for posterity, as an aural reminder of his stunning performance as Didymus in Peter Sellars' legendary 1996 Glyndebourne staging of this oratorio (now available on DVD and also strongly recommended).

Starting with a scale-swooping "Destructive war" from "Belshazzar", the entire program is mesmerizing with special mention going to "O Lord, whose mercies numberless" from "Saul" and "He was despised" from "Messiah". Conductor John Nelson and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris accompany Daniels beautifully and unobtrusively with modern (versus period) instruments, a smart decision giving the pieces a more contemporary feel. The end result is a recital to play again and again...at least until you have the opportunity to hear him live.
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