Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE OTHER BIBLE
Judges 4 is not a chapter of holy scripture that is often selected as a sermon-text. The incident in which Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, invites the vanquished Canaanite general Sisera into her tent and skewers his head to the floor with a tent-peg while he sleeps is not actually a more gory episode than many in the Old Testament: what really keeps the passage...
Published on 7 Mar 2007 by DAVID BRYSON

versus
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent early Handel oratorio
'Deborah' is an important Handel oratorio as it is one of the first of what was to be long line of concerts based on largely Biblical subjects and sung in English. 'Deborah' borrows from many earlier works but is an important piece in its own right and contains some particularly impressive choruses. This recording also has a mightily impressive overture with which to open...
Published on 5 Dec 2008 by Iain C. Davidson


Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE OTHER BIBLE, 7 Mar 2007
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Handel: Deborah (Audio CD)
Judges 4 is not a chapter of holy scripture that is often selected as a sermon-text. The incident in which Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, invites the vanquished Canaanite general Sisera into her tent and skewers his head to the floor with a tent-peg while he sleeps is not actually a more gory episode than many in the Old Testament: what really keeps the passage off-limits is the suspicion that she may have seduced him. Myself, I am not at all convinced of this. Sisera was no doubt exhausted, and quite likely not in the mood for anything more passionate than the bowl of milk that Jael had provided and owns up to. One way or the other, the tent-peg assassination dominates the comment I have been reading about the libretto of Deborah, but it would be a complete mistake to think that it dominates the libretto itself, still less the music. It is passed over summarily in a single recitative near the end of an oratorio that is about other issues entirely.

The entire process of the composition of Deborah took place in conditions of frantic haste. This was the case not only with Handel but also with his librettist Samuel Humphreys. Robert King, in his typically fine liner-note, finds that the time-pressure shows in the libretto which seems to him a succession of tableaux, but I have a better opinion of it. The libretto of Solomon is my own idea of a series of tableaux and disconnected episodes, whereas that of Deborah by accident or design contrives to form a very coherent framework for an oratorio. The buildup of tension between the enslaved Israelites and their Canaanite masters, the dramatic reflections and proclamations of the main participants, and the choral episodes alternately extolling the respective deities and commenting on the situation as it develops - all this makes fine oratorio material, and it is all better without battles and whatnot in my own opinion. As for the tale of the tent-peg, with its foreshadowing of Dinsdale Piranha in the Monty Python sketch, I doubt it would make the slightest difference if the recitative in which it gets its solitary mention were simply left out.

In fact Handel's Deborah seems to me a highly successful effort, for all the difficult circumstances of its composition. How much of the music was freshly composed for it I can't tell from King's commentary. Clearly, a great deal was recycled, but it would be another mistake to think that this was some mechanical or automatic process. Some numbers are indeed lifted note-for-note from elsewhere, but in others there has been substantial recomposition. King is fascinating on this topic if less clear than he might have been, but my own feeling is that absolutely nothing has been incorporated in any careless or insensitive way, and indeed I note that King feels that the music to the chorus 'Despair all around them' near the end of Act I is better suited to its new text here than to its source in one of the coronation anthems. The music, wherever it came from in Handel's other oeuvre, is uniformly excellent and sometimes superlative, and perhaps my own prize would go to the awesome chorus Lord of Eternity in Act II. I never find in Handel the contemplative tone that so characterises Bach, but Handel has another approach to the Almighty, and when Handel's chorus sings 'Lord of Eternity', there He is, more surely in front of us than even Michelangelo could depict Him.

The choral work is exceptionally important, even for Handel, in this oratorio, and much of it is exceedingly grandiose and big-scale in its scoring. The contributions of the choir of New College and the Salisbury Cathedral choristers are exemplary, but if I have one slight disappointment with this set it is that the recording is less vivid and immediate than I have got used to from other productions in King's great Handel series. There is nothing really 'wrong' with the sound, and I'm finding that a high volume-setting helps, but I still can't help thinking it a slight pity that the engineers have chosen to be a little demure in Deborah of all the oratorios. As for the soloists, I have not a word of criticism to offer. They are all in fine voice, and they all have fine voices to be in. In particular the two sopranos offset each other superbly, but if I were to award another of my individual prizes I think it might go to the gorgeous velvet tones of Michael George in his aria 'Tears' in the final act. The instrumental playing is excellent without exception, but when all is said and done my Man of the Match has to be Robert King himself. He has edited the score for performance, he directs with sympathy and expertise, and he gives us another of his fine and endearingly enthusiastic essays for our guidance. We need to forget the tent-pegs and seductions and take this issue as seriously as it deserves and demands to be taken.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent early Handel oratorio, 5 Dec 2008
By 
Iain C. Davidson "iain1825" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Handel: Deborah (Audio CD)
'Deborah' is an important Handel oratorio as it is one of the first of what was to be long line of concerts based on largely Biblical subjects and sung in English. 'Deborah' borrows from many earlier works but is an important piece in its own right and contains some particularly impressive choruses. This recording also has a mightily impressive overture with which to open events.

One of a series of Handel oratorios recorded by Robert King and The Kings Consort, playing is typically stylish and neat without being overly dramatic. This works for 'Deborah' as it is a fairly static piece with the only real 'drama' occuring in the middle when the enemy chief Sisera and his troops confront the Israelites for a bit of a slanging match. The high point here is the highly effective piece for soloists and chorus 'borrowed' from 'Il Trionfo'. The chorus sing wonderfully well but to my ears the recording is a little muted; these are powerful choruses and one really wants to hear them ringing out.

Of the soloists, Yvonne Kenny sings beautifully in the title role on the whole but the top of her voice is quite 'edgy'. Similarly Susan Gritton can go a little shrill at the top of her range but her 'Tyrant' aria in the third part is undeniably impressive. Catherine Denley makes the most of the small but important part of Sisera. Michael George is sonorous if a little woolly in the 'elderly father' role. In the role of Barak, James Bowman is tasteful but a little dull and underpowered in my opinion. I have recently heard Lawrence Zazzo in this role and he is miles better in my opinion; just compare the two in 'All Danger Disdaining'!

All in all 'Deborah' is an appealling work and this is a decent recording of it but I think we could now do with something even better. The only other recording on Naxos is not the answer (but still worth a listen for Zazzo and also Ewa Wolak as Sisera). Recommended for now!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious stuff, 23 Jan 2008
By 
This review is from: Handel: Deborah (Audio CD)
I bought this last week and was completely taken by surprise at the beauty and splendour of this oratorio. I didn't want it to end.It just makes me wonder why this work isn't more celebrated. The performances are top notch through out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and bad, 6 Aug 2011
By 
Per Arne Rudberg "P-A Rudberg" (Vallentuna, Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Handel: Deborah (Audio CD)
A recording with good and bad. Unfortunately the bad is really bad....
To start with the good things: Kenny is great as Deborah with a voice that is clear and makes it possible to hear every syllable.
The choir and the orchestra are agile and always interesting. English Händel tradition mixed with the ""modern"" baroque approach really works.
The really negative side of this recording is Bowman. He has a dull voice with strange manierisms. With all the good counters out there, why choose him?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DELIGHTFUL, 29 April 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Handel: Deborah (Audio CD)
Never head handle.s Deborah before just fund out what I have been missing a delightful oratorio one not to be mist lovely singing and plying all round by the king.s consort Robert King conductor the choir of new college, oxford an important addition to the Handel discography
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Handel: Deborah
Handel: Deborah by George Frideric Handel (Audio CD - 2000)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews