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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Late Handel superbly interpreted, 17 Jan. 2009
By 
M. P. Walker "Matt" (York, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: The Choice of Hercules (Audio CD)
This is a truly remarkable recording. I doubt that many people have heard of Handel's 'The Choice of Hercules', which is a shame as it is really delightful, especially in this recording. I confess it took me a while to appreciate Alice Coote's voice, but I think she is well suited to the rather stern figure of virtue. She contrasts nicely with the seductive Pleasure, but the real star of the piece is Robin Blaze as the indecisive hero. His singing is amazing; surely faultless Baroque technique. By turns dramatic and lyrical, his voice is ravishing. Frankly, by this CD for "Yet can I hear that dulcet lay?", or may favourite piece, "Lead goddess, lead the way."
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Handel, the remainder, less so, 1 May 2003
By 
lee sheen (Cardiff, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Handel: The Choice of Hercules (Audio CD)
Have waited a long time for a new recording of this work, having loved James Bowman's performance of the aria 'Yet can I hear that dulcet lay' on his recital album for many years.
That the new recording should also be by Robert King and the Kings Consort, with an outstanding set of soloists is an even greater pleasure.
The piece is short with some wonderful arias, particularly Robin Blaze's performance of the air mentioned above. Blaze has one of the best 'english' counter-tenors around today and the dexterity and control exhibited here is astonishing.
Among other highlights is the tenor aria 'Enjoy the sweet Elysian ...' here sung perfectly 'in style' by the outstanding Charles Daniels.
The final chorus, too, is well worth the money alone.
The addition of a second work adds little to the disc and feels 'stuck on'
I would pay for just the Handel. You won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That dulcet lay, 26 Jun. 2012
By 
E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Handel: The Choice of Hercules (Audio CD)
"The Choice Of Hercules" is unique amongst Handel's works, being in effect a kind of "one act dramatic cantata". It arose as a way for the resourceful George Frideric to recycle music from the unperformed Alceste, and was at first tacked onto the end of performances of Alexander's Feast, and later as an interlude between its two parts.

The scenario arises from a story put into the mouth of Socrates in Xenophon's Memorabilia, summarising a now lost poem by Prodicus of Ceos. Hercules, entering manhood, is contemplating his future, when two women appear to him. The first offers him a life of indolent pleasure, the second glory through the rough path of hard work. Socrates does not mention the choice Hercules makes, but of course given his subsequent labours we know which he selected.

Susan Gritton sings suitably seductively as Pleasure, and Alice Coote more schoolmarmishly as Virtue. Undeniably though Robin Blaze, one of the finest countertenors this country has produced in recent times, as Hercules steals the show.

The disc is completed by something of a filler from Handel's contemporary Maurice Green. The booklet contains some interesting notes and full libretti.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choice of Hercules, 2 Jun. 2010
By 
Boso Alfredo (Italy - Padova) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: The Choice of Hercules (Audio CD)
This is considered not an original piece of Handel , but a pastiche. Anyway the airs collected here are wonderful and the recording is superb.
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Handel: The Choice of Hercules
Handel: The Choice of Hercules by George Frideric Handel (Audio CD - 2002)
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