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5.0 out of 5 stars Is this possible?, 2 April 2012
Pedro Sena Lino "Bizancian" (Berlin, Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Haendel : Dixit Dominus (Audio CD)
I am not a baroque fan. But, together with Gardiner's breathtaking account of Bach's Magnificat, this recording made me enter the golden doors of Baroque music.
The atmospheres: severe, sublime, inspired. Gardiner can convey the strong personality of each movement, as well as giving a monumental vision of the whole.
The voices: perfectly shaped, detailed, in an harmonical totality with the orchestra.
And, mainly, the meaning of this music: this is a Psalm, that previews what will be Christ's fate. Gardiner plays with all the drama of the Ancient Testament, and the hope of the New.
Every time I hear this, I cannot listen to anything afterwards for a long time. The music is bigger than the music.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A superb, Italianate "Dixit" and an insufferable "Zadok", 18 July 2012
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Haendel : Dixit Dominus (Audio CD)
Anyone who has read a few of my reviews of Gardiner's work will know that I am by no means an unwavering fan, especially when he gets his hands on Bach but I hope I give credit where credit is due and I readily heap praise upon this account of "Dixit Dominus" while being equally prepared to brand the "Zadok" as one massive misfire. Thus we have the best and worst of Jeggy here; even as early as a quarter-century ago he was given to taking eccentric decisions over tempi - and the sluggish, funereal performance of Handel's greatest anthem cannot be redeemed even by the excellent Monteverdi Choir the way it is dragged out here. I second fellow reviewer David Bryson in his reasoned condemnation of this version and urge you to turn another recording by to appreciate the full the splendour of this glorious music. It needs momentum, grandeur and a sense of inexorably building towards a magnificent climax; Gardiner's version could not be tamer. Like Mr Bryson, I have sought in vain the ideal performance and the closest I have come so far is the grand one by the King's Consort with superb blaring trumpets (too muted in Gardiner's account) - but it's still too measured.

Yet the youthful Handel piece positively sparkles; the same choir sounds energised and impassioned, beautifully in tune and extraordinarily crisp in their articulation of the semi-quavers and their enunciation of text; there are no aspirates and they produce consistently full tone - marvellous. The two soprano soloists are first rate, featuring two star names early in their careers: the pure, ethereal Margaret Marshall's soprano and the fuller, tangier sound of Felicity Palmer. Their duet "De torrente" is sublime. Charles Brett's alto is a bit windy but he is very musical. The ebullience, agility and bravura of both the music and the performances are intoxicating and I can well understand how this is many people's favourite Handel work.

Be aware that this recording is now available very cheaply on the Apex super-bargain label.
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Haendel : Dixit Dominus
Haendel : Dixit Dominus by John Eliot Gardiner And The Monteverdi Orchestra (Audio CD - 1990)
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