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Handel - Solomon


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Product details

  • Performer: Sarah Connolly, Susan Gritton, Carolyn Sampson, Mark Padmore, David Wilson-Johnson
  • Orchestra: Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, RIAS Kammerchor
  • Conductor: Daniel Reuss
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (29 Oct. 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B000TT1QRI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,075 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Solomon - 59 tracks on 2 CDs - George Frideric Handel

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary on 1 Jun. 2008
Format: Audio CD
I thought this was a wonderful performance. The singing was so full of character and really told the story. I loved the John Eliot Gardiner version but I think this one is better.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Catone in Utica on 15 May 2008
Format: Audio CD
This recording of "Solomon" by the Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin and RIAS Kammerchor, the same forces that produced about 15 years ago what I believe to be the definitive vesion of Handel's "Jephtha", has been getting some rave reviews; the critic at Classicstoday practically drools over it. Alas, it's a flaccid disappointment quite literally from the first continuo chord of the first chorus. Where John Eliot Gardner's interpretation of "Your Harps and Cymbals Sound" immediately grabs one by the ears with its propulsiveness, Reuss' seems tentative and hesitant. And the lethargy never abates; perhaps performing all the pieces that Gardner pruned proved to be taxing for Reuss and his gang?

That said, this recording is marginally worth buying because it does include a number of arias cut by Gardner, but only for completists. Gardner's recording remains unmatched.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Janet M. Coe on 2 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bought as a Christmas present for a Sarah Connolly fan she loves it. She has palyed it a lot already she tells me.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pleased on 15 Jan. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I read a review in the Saturday telegraph and have now bought 3 copies 2 to issue as presents. I was not disappointed it is absolutely lovely and brings back happy memories of my choir singing days!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A first-class performance of another great Handel oratorio 4 April 2009
By Baroque and opera freak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I must say that I disagree with the previous Amazon reviewer's opinion of this recording. I have not compared any of the other recordings of this very fine oratorio, either the recent recordings conducted by Budday and McGegan or the "classic" recordings by Gardiner and McCreesh, all of which have received strong reviews, but I can say that, as Richard Wigmore (Gramophone, December 2007) concluded not long after McGegan's and Reuss's recordings came out, this is a very fine recording that stands with the best, and which, in Wigmore's judgement, in some ways surpasses the others. The prominence of Sarah Connolly, Susan Gritton, Carolyn Sampson, and Mark Padmore in the Handel (and other Baroque) repertory need hardly be pointed out, and in this recording none of them falls short of her or his usual high standards. Conductor Daniel Reuss may not yet have the Handelian credentials of the likes of Rene Jacobs, who shook the Baroque music world in 2005 with his incredible recording of Saul, but Harmonia Mundi would not have taken Reuss and the Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin on board to produce their follow-up to Saul if they were not very sure they could achieve equally high standards. If Reuss has gone off to Estonia, it may be because Estonia is a country with one of the finest choral traditions in the world. This was certainly confirmed for me at the recent performance by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir during the 2009 Hong Kong Arts Festival. I do not recall ever hearing a better choral performance by a relatively small professional choir in my life. Regardng the EPCC, a reviewer for The New York Times stated, "The performances were so fine that they left you feeling like an ingrate, greedily hungry for more." I had exactly the same feeling. Arvo Pärt, one of the greatest of contemporary composers, is also Estonian, so the country is certainly no "backwoods" in the world of music. We can only look forward greatly to future recordings conducted by Daniel Reuss, and this recording gives ample reason for such eager anticipation. And the oratorio itself, premiered in 1749, ten years after Saul, is surely one of Handel's most spectacular oratorios, based on an amazing set of great Biblical stories revolving around King Solomon. And the quality of the English poetry in the libretto is -- as is usual for Handel's oratorios -- second to none, even if the identity of the poet is unknown. Here, for example, is one of the Queen's of Sheba's recitatives:

The harmony's divine, great king,/All, all obey the artist's string./And now, illustrious prince, receive/Such tribute as my realm can give./Here, purest gold, from earth's dark entrails torn;/And gems resplendent, that outshine the morn;/There balsam breathes a grateful smell,/With thee the fragrant strangers wish to dwell./Yet of ev'ry object I behold,/Amid the glare of gems and gold,/The temple most attracts my eye,/Where with unwearied zeal, you serve the Lord on high.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Best-Cast "Solomon" Available 14 Dec. 2009
By Nicholas A. Deutsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Briefly: to my ears, this is simply the best-cast SOLOMON in the catalogue, and if it were not for the cuts (presumably made to avoid a third CD) it would be my first recommendation. As it is, it ranks with the classic Gardiner set - also slightly trimmed and re-arranged at the end of Part Three. Like Gardiner (and Handel!) Reuss casts the title role with a female alto, to my mind preferable to even a first-rate countertenor: Sarah Connolly is very fine, just edging out Gardiner's excellent Carolyn Watkinson. (Could someone please now have her record the other great Caterina Galli male role, Joacim in SUSANNA?) The division of the four soprano roles between two singers is neatly done, and what singers they are: Susan Gritton and Carolyn Sampson in top form. (Handel, by the way, originally gave all three main soprano roles to one singer, with a secondary artist for the episodic role of the 2nd Woman.) Nor can I imagine better current exponents of the tenor and bass roles than Mark Padmore and David Wilson-Johnson. Conductor Daniel Reuss I know mainly from his recordings of the music of Frank Martin: superb versions of the Mass and Five Ariel Songs, a lovely-to-listen-to but underdramatized LE VIN HERBE. This recording comes down squarely on the positive side. While I value Paul McCreesh's note-complete SOLOMON (with countertenor Andreas Scholl in the title role), I enjoy this and the Gardiner every bit as much. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
PROPRE ET CARRE, 25 April 2011
By PVP - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Solomon appartient à la grande série des oratorios de la fin de la vie de Haendel. Composé en 1748, en seulement cinq semaines, cette aeuvre contient des pages absolument magnifiques, parmi les plus étonnantes du compositeur. En témoignent May no rash intruder, à la fin du premier acte, ou Praise the Lord dans le troisième acte, chaeur d'une richesse polyphonique proprement stupéfiante, de même que certains airs : Welcome (duo Solomon/la Reine), Golden columns (Zadok, Acte III), Will the sun (La Reine de Sabba, Acte III etc...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
another Handel masterpiece 22 Jan. 2012
By Wyote - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I can't disagree with the praise from the other reviewers - but I want to add that if you're in the market for this, you might consider the "Lumières" box set from Harmonia Mundi, which includes this as well as a lot of other baroque and classical era music (the other highlights are Rene Jacob's recordings of Le Nozze de Figaro and of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, Christie's recording of Castor & Pollux, Herreweghe's recording of Beethoven's 9th). Something to consider...
5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Solid but uninspiring 20 July 2008
By Scoglio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A rather understated performance (even by traditional English oratorio standards) --- accurate and dutiful enough, but having much less impact than either the McCreesh or Gardiner. Sarah Connolly sounds small-voiced and slightly strained in alt, the sopranos are better, but the men are disappointing, with bleating tones and sustained notes that are indistinguishable from trills. Moreover, the double casting of the four soprano roles is cheesy. Little wonder that the second-tier choral conductor Reuss is headed to Estonia for his next permanent appointment (this is not a slur on Estonia).
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