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Handel - Samson [Box set]

The Sixteen, harry christophers Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 26.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Conductor: Christophers
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (6 Jun 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Coro
  • ASIN: B000067UM6
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,343 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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Overture: Handel: Samson 7:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Recitative: This day, a solemn feast to Dagon held: Handel: Samson0:320.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Chorus: Awake the trumpet's lofty sound!: Handel: Samson 1:540.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Air: Ye men of Gaza: Handel: Samson 3:510.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Chorus: Awake the trumpet's lofty sound (2): Handel: Samson0:290.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Air: Loud as the thunder's awful voice: Handel: Samson 3:070.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Air: Then free from sorrow, free from thrall: Handel: Samson 2:340.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Chorus: Awake the trumpet's lofty sound (3): Handel: Samson0:280.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Recit: Why by an angel was my birth foretold: Handel: Samson0:520.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Air: Torments alas! are not confin'd: Handel: Samson 3:560.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Recit: O change beyond report, thought, or belief!: Handel: Samson0:560.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Air: O mirror of our fickle state!: Handel: Samson 2:440.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Recit: Whom have I to complain of but myself: Handel: Samson 2:360.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Air: Total eclipse!: Handel: Samson 3:290.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Recit: Since light so necessary is to life: Handel: Samson 1:120.69  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Chorus: Oh first created beam!: Handel: Samson 3:340.69  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Recit: Ye see, my friends, how woes enclose me round: Handel: Samson 1:590.69  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Recit: Brethren and men of Dan: Handel: Samson0:330.69  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Recit: Oh miserable change! Is this the man: Handel: Samson0:440.69  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Recit: Oh ever failing trust in mortal strength!: Handel: Samson0:150.69  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Air: God of our fathers, what is man?: Handel: Samson 3:000.69  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Recit: The good we wish for, often proves our bane: Handel: Samson 1:040.69  Buy MP3 
Listen23. Air: Thy glorious deeds inspir'd my tongue: Handel: Samson 4:350.69  Buy MP3 
Listen24. Recit: Justly these evils have befall'n thy son: Handel: Samson 1:350.69  Buy MP3 
Listen25. Recit: My griefs for this forbid mine eye to close: Handel: Samson0:540.69  Buy MP3 
Listen26. Air: Why does the God of Israel sleep?: Handel: Samson 4:340.69  Buy MP3 
Listen27. Recit: There lies our hope!: Handel: Samson0:210.69  Buy MP3 
Listen28. Chorus: Then shall they know: Handel: Samson 2:190.69  Buy MP3 
Listen29. Recit: For thee, my dearest son: Handel: Samson 2:560.69  Buy MP3 
Listen30. Air: Then long eternity shall greet your bliss: Handel: Samson 5:260.69  Buy MP3 
Listen31. Chorus: Then round about the starry throne: Handel: Samson 2:090.69  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Recit: Despair not thus!: Handel: Samson 1:250.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Air: Just are the ways of God to man: Handel: Samson 3:260.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Recit: My evils hopeless are!: Handel: Samson0:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Air & Chorus: Return, O God of hosts!: Handel: Samson 8:390.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Recit: But who is this, that so bedeck'd and gay: Handel: Samson 3:150.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Air: With plaintive notes and am'rous moan: Handel: Samson 7:060.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Recit: Alas! Th'event was worse than I foresaw: Handel: Samson0:540.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Air: Your charms to ruin led the way: Handel: Samson 3:360.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Recit: Forgive what's done, nor think of what's past cure: Handel: Samson0:300.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Duet & Chorus: My faith and truth, oh Samson, prove: Handel: Samson 6:140.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Air & Chorus: To fleeting pleasures make your court: Handel: Samson 4:530.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Recit: Ne'er think of that!: Handel: Samson 1:270.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Duet & Recit: Traitor to love!: Handel: Samson 1:570.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Air: It is not virtue, valour, wit: Handel: Samson 4:120.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Recit: Favour'd of Heaven is he: Handel: Samson0:220.69  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Chorus: To man God's universal law: Handel: Samson 2:310.69  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Recit: No words of peace: Handel: Samson 1:380.69  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Air: Honour and arms scorn such a foe: Handel: Samson 5:400.69  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Recit: Put on your arms: Handel: Samson0:100.69  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Air: My strength is from the living God: Handel: Samson 2:530.69  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Recit: With thee! A man condemn'd: Handel: Samson0:410.69  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Duet: Go, baffled coward, go: Handel: Samson 2:160.69  Buy MP3 
Listen23. Recit: Here lie the proof: Handel: Samson0:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen24. Chorus: Hear, Jacob's God, Jehova, hear!: Handel: Samson 3:140.69  Buy MP3 
Listen25. Recit: Dagon, arise! Attend thy sacred feast!: Handel: Samson0:130.69  Buy MP3 
Listen26. Air: To song and dance we give the day: Handel: Samson 4:040.69  Buy MP3 
Listen27. Chorus: To song and dance we give the day: Handel: Samson 1:570.69  Buy MP3 
Listen28. Chorus & soloists: Fix'd in his everlasting seat: Handel: Samson 3:030.69  Buy MP3 


Disc 3:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Recitative: More trouble is behind: Handel: Samson 1:230.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Air: Presuming slave, to move their wrath: Handel: Samson 3:010.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Recitative: Reflect then, Samson: Handel: Samson0:500.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Chorus of Israelites: With thunder arm'd great God, arise: Handel: Samson 2:550.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Recitative: Be of good courage: Handel: Samson 2:230.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Air: Thus when the sun from's wat'ry bed: Handel: Samson 3:540.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Recitative: With might endued: Handel: Samson0:250.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Air & Chorus: The Holy One of Israel be thy guide/To fame immortal go: Handel: Samson 2:220.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Recitative: Old Manoa, with youthful steps: Handel: Samson0:260.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Air & Chorus: Great Dagon has subdued our foe: Handel: Samson 4:280.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Recitative: What noise of joy was that: Handel: Samson0:470.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Air: How willing my paternal love: Handel: Samson 3:360.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Recit, Sinfonia & Chorus: Your hopes of his deliv'ry seem not vain: Handel: Samson 1:570.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Recit: Noise call you this?: Handel: Samson0:400.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Recitative: Where shall I run: Handel: Samson 3:490.69  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Air & Chorus: Ye sons of Israel/Weep Israel: Handel: Samson 3:200.69  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Recitative: Proceed we hence to find his body: Handel: Samson0:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Dead March: Handel: Samson 3:060.69  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Recit: The body comes: Handel: Samson 1:100.69  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Air & Chorus: Glorious hero, may thy grave: Handel: Samson 5:120.69  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Recitative: Come come! No time for lamentation now: Handel: Samson 1:020.69  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Air & Chorus: Let the bright Seraphim in burning row: Handel: Samson 6:250.69  Buy MP3 


Product Description

Review

Powerful choral singing from The Sixteen and alert playing by the period-instrument band make this the most pleasurable Samson yet recorded. --Sunday Times

CD Description

One of Handel's most popular oratorios during his lifetime, composed within weeks of messiah. Samson proved to be one of Handel's most popular oratorios during his lifetime, composed within weeks of Messiah. Thomas Randle sings a commanding title role ("Samson with attitude...: The Independent), with Lynda Russell's vocally seductive Dalila, and Catherine Wyn-Rogers' rich and expressive Micah. Samson opens with a pagan festival and closes with an elegy. Its finale is rightly established as one of the most famous arias of all time" "Let the bright Seraphim in burning row/ Their loud, uplifted angel-trumpets blow.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tedious tempi, lacking drama 21 Jun 2009
By Marcolorenzo TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Samson may be one of Handel's greatest oratorios, but you wouldn't know it from this performance. Although there is certainly much fine singing by Thomas Randle (Samson), Lynne Dawson (Israelite & Philistine woman), Mark Padmore (Israelite & Philistine man )and Michael George (Manoa, Samson's father) this uncut version drags rhythmically and dramatically (especially in the recitatives). I am an amateur Handel musician/scholar and I must say that I found it difficult to listen to this performance in one or two or even three sittings. I can't say that I found it totally boring, but I do think that this performance does not do the score justice. As one Gramophone critic wrote Christophers may have chosen this plodding approach to emphasize the religious nature of the work. I think that this is nonsense. Religious meaning does not mean undue gravity, heaviness, plodding, lack of bouyancy and brilliance, horribly slow tempi, which are the characteristics of this performance. I am anxious to hear and own the newly released McGegan version on Carus, which critics have said conveys the real majesty and glorious power of this work. I hope McGegan's version is better than this one,which shouldn't be to dificult to do, (keeping my fingers crossed). Also see the definitive modern instrument version by Leppard included along with his performance of The Messiah:Handel: SamsonHandel Messiah / Samson Arias From Rinaldo & Other OperasSamson
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HANDEL AGONISTES 11 Mar 2004
By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The genesis of Handel’s Samson seems to have been a reading of Milton’s Samson Agonistes at the home of Lord Shaftesbury in late 1739. It seems that Handel was visibly impressed, as well he might have been. However the actual composition of the work did not begin until after Messiah in 1741, with its premiere in 1743.
I doubt that he ever produced a more perfect or a more consistently inspired work, certainly among his compositions of comparable size. Samson is in three acts, each neatly filling one cd. The libretto is by the formidable Jennens, who was famously not intimidated by the great man and who had told him not to mess around with the script in their previous collaboration over Saul. One way or another, it strikes me as one of the best libretti I have ever seen. Milton’s general scheme is followed faithfully but not pedantically. Jennens skilfully brings in the hedonistic Philistines right at the start for better stage-effect and musical contrast with the main action, and he expands Milton’s abrupt conclusion to provide suitable obsequies, not quite on the scale of Siegfried’s but still expansive and incorporating a far better funeral march in my own view, for the hero who smote the enemy and died unwounded by them. The reflective utterances of Milton’s impersonal ‘Chorus’ are partly personified into the character of Micah, partly given to what Handel knew as a chorus, and anyone unfamiliar with that has a musical experience indeed in store. The diction is almost entirely free of the affectation and artificiality that bedevilled 18th century English poetry, the ‘impure verbiage’ memorably ridiculed by Housman in The Name and Nature of Poetry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely recording. 26 Mar 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a long work but this recording is well paced, well played and both solo and choral work are excellent. I followed it with a score, except where the score had been edited. This is the complete version and something to return to for more pleasurable listening.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 31 July 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HANDEL AGONISTES 11 Mar 2004
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The genesis of Handel's Samson seems to have been a reading of Milton's Samson Agonistes at the home of Lord Shaftesbury in late 1739. It seems that Handel was visibly impressed, as well he might have been. However the actual composition of the work did not begin until after Messiah in 1741, with its premiere in 1743.
I doubt that he ever produced a more perfect or a more consistently inspired work, certainly among his compositions of comparable size. Samson is in three acts, each neatly filling one cd. The libretto is by the formidable Jennens, who was famously not intimidated by the great man and who had told him not to mess around with the script in their previous collaboration over Saul. One way or another, it strikes me as one of the best libretti I have ever seen. Milton's general scheme is followed faithfully but not pedantically. Jennens skilfully brings in the hedonistic Philistines right at the start for better stage-effect and musical contrast with the main action, and he expands Milton's abrupt conclusion to provide suitable obsequies, not quite on the scale of Siegfried's but still expansive and incorporating a far better funeral march in my own view, for the hero who smote the enemy and died unwounded by them. The reflective utterances of Milton's impersonal `Chorus' are partly personified into the character of Micah, partly given to what Handel knew as a chorus, and anyone unfamiliar with that has a musical experience indeed in store. The diction is almost entirely free of the affectation and artificiality that bedevilled 18th century English poetry, the `impure verbiage' memorably ridiculed by Housman in The Name and Nature of Poetry. Many of Milton's best phrases and images are incorporated, indeed whole lines are here little altered, sometimes unchanged entirely. When Samson rebuffs Dalila, Milton's epic sentence of 18 lines is adroitly reduced by Jennens to 6, and he removes any ambiguity from Dalila's final departure. As given by Milton I could imagine this delivered either with defiance or with a shrug of the shoulders. With Jennens Dalila turns abruptly into a spitfire, and the opportunity is not lost on the composer.
Handel seems to me something of an old testament figure himself. The specifically Christian tone of meditation that is so marked in Bach is totally absent from anything I know by Handel. He is one of the prophets, born out of his time. Oratorio started with him and effectively ended with him so far as I am concerned. Measured against the true epic stuff of Handel, Mendelssohn is the feeble imitation of an excited curate that Shaw uncharitably called him, and when at the end of act II the stars in deep amaze at Jehovah fix'd in His everlasting seat hammer in their piledriver chords across the beat - there He is. Samson seems to have benefited from the time the composer took over it - I detect none of the signs of haste that I do in Messiah. One glorious and extended aria follows another, the recitatives show some of the variety and inventiveness of those in Messiah itself, and in the choruses, sung by 20 voices, I heard, as nearly always, the incomparable build of tone that Beecham described as not even remotely rivalled by any subsequent composer.
This type of performance is not the only kind I can imagine, but it suits me very well. No doubt an extra dimension of vividness and force would have been added if it had been Robert Tear, Jill Gomez and Tom Allen in the main parts, but by the second time of hearing I had stopped thinking about them entirely, even if I would still have welcomed a rather more heroic reading of the title part itself. The soloists here are out-and-out professionals obviously in their complete element with this music, and the 20-strong choir revel in the marvellous material they are given time after time repeatedly. The instrumentalists put me at my ease right away in the very attractive overture, there is some formidable virtuoso work by the violins, the incomparable Crispian Steel-Perkins gets his head in the final `Let the Bright Seraphim', and the dead march which Handel on second thoughts imported from Saul in place of his original inspiration is awesome as ever, taken faster than Mackerras or Ledger take it in my versions of that masterpiece, and with a memorable timpani effect. Anyone contemplating a purchase would probably do well to consider the versions by Leppard and Harnoncourt also, indeed anyone with the time and money might well decide to obtain all three. Had I but world enough and time I might have done exactly that. For now I shall stick very happily indeed with what I have here.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comparison between Harry Christophers' and Raymond Leppard's recordings 11 Jun 2009
By E. A. Lovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This Coro (C) edition of Handel's "Samson" with The Sixteen and Harry Christophers already has a very fine review, so my own comments will be limited to a comparison between this version (2002) and an earlier (1978) recording from Erato (E), with Raymond Leppard conducting the London Voices and the English Chamber Orchestra (Handel - Samson / Tear J. Baker Watts Shirley-Quirk Luxon Langridge A. Oliver Burrowes Lott ECO Leppard).

* Harry Christophers and his period-instrument orchestra (C) provide a brighter, more nimble performance that is about seven minutes shorter than Leppard's version (E). Raymond Leppard gives us a more majestic, operatic "Samson" that could seem slightly ponderous to modern tastes.

* The quicksilver melismas of The Sixteen (C) are a joy, their precise articulation a rare gift to the serious listener. However, the choral duel between the Israelites ("Jehovah!") and the Philistines ("Great Dagon!") is better suited to the volume of the London Voices (E). The Sixteen (C) sound more like a Cambridge debating society than a mob of religious zealots. Many of Handel's choruses in "Samson" require majesty rather than nimbleness, e.g. "With thunder arm'd great God, arise!" The Sixteen (C) make better Philistines. The London Voices make better Israelites!

* The soloists of both recordings are excellent, although the Erato (E) edition has better-known names, e.g. Dame Janet Baker as Delilah and Benjamin Luxon as Harapha. The real difference lies in the role of Samson. Thomas Randle (C) sings a beautiful, technically perfect Samson. Robert Tear (E) is Samson. Tenor Tear conveys the rage, power, and despair of this biblical hero. The thunderous interchanges between Samson and Delilah ("Traitor/Traitress to love!"), Harapha and Samson ("Presume not on thy God") come across much more emotionally in the Erato (E) recording. I also prefer alto Helen Watts (E) in the rather ambiguous role of Micah. Her expressive singing brings this character to life for me, especially in the poignant "Return, oh God of hosts! Behold thy servant in distress!" Dame Janet Baker (E) is a peerless Delilah.

* Harry Christophers (C) substitutes the "Dead March" from "Saul" (as eventually did Handel), while Raymond Leppard (E) uses the original "Dead March" from "Samson" in his recording.

I love both of these recordings of "Samson," but the version I listen to most often is the Leppard (E).
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Handel's best oratorios 3 Dec 2004
By Bruce Bogin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Some time ago I fell in love with baroque music, particularly sacred music. Then I discovered Vivaldi's operas but for some reason I put off buying anything by Handel. Then one day Amazon France had a special on Belshazzar. I bought it and I was hooked. Since then I have acquired a number of Handel's operas and oratorios. I have just acquired Handel's Samson performed by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen and stars Thomas Randle, Mark Padmore and Lynda Russell. It is a stunner. The music and particularly the choruses is vigorous and exciting. I love unequivocally all of Handel's music (I only buy and listen to vocal music) and it is uniformly great, but Samson outdoes all of them. I read somewhere that Beethoven said referring to Handel "I would take off my hat and kneel at the grave of this man, the greatest composer of them all." Samson is great music. Do yourself a big favor and buy it.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plodding lacking in dramatic intensity 31 Oct 2009
By Marcolorenzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This interpretation is dull with plodding tempi and little dramatic interest or accent, and for a work of such length (3 hours and 20 minutes) is really too much to take. There are of course some fine moments on the part of the soloists however. Recently Nicholas McGegan recorded this work in a very good interpretation for Carus records, but probably the best version is the Leppard recording on modern instruments for Erato.Handel - Samson / Tear J. Baker Watts Shirley-Quirk Luxon Langridge A. Oliver Burrowes Lott ECO Leppard
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rendition as strong as Samson 14 July 2014
By Lynda G. Christian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A terrific rendition of a terrific opera. The chorus singing "Let the bright seraphim" is to die for.
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