So Much More Than 'Messiah': Appreciating Handel in All Seasons
The New York Times, December 15, 2006
I've always loved it when the Times staff has done these single-composer record round-ups, in which each critic gets to sound off about a handful of favorites. This one, in which the mandate was everything by Handel except Messiah, was the first one in which I was able to participate.
Unsurprisingly, a few of the essential Handel recordings -- I'm mainly thinking of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's Avie recital CD (on Tony's list) and Andrew Manze's recording of the Op. 6 Concerti Grossi (on Allan's) -- were snatched up by others. Even so, I'm completely happy with the worthy releases I covered. Here they are, with click-through purchase links provided.
‘GIULIO CESARE’ Danielle de Niese, Sarah Connolly, Angelika Kirchschlager, Christopher Maltman; Glyndebourne Chorus; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by William Christie; directed by David McVicar (Opus Arte 0950; three DVDs).
(ArkivMusic, Barnes & Noble)
Ethan Iverson has provided a terrific detailed recap of the Pierre Laurent Aimard recital at Zankel with the surprise Elliott Carter premiere that I mentioned in the post immediately below this one. Ethan also covers what appears to have been a very impressive Chicago Symphony concert the previous night, as well as a deeply weird performance by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra at Zankel the following night -- weird not in the sense of badly or perversely played, but rather presented in an awkward manner. At two points during what the audience clearly assumed was a non-stop performance of Bach's complete Musical Offering (since there was nothing to suggest anything but in the program), the group stopped playing and left the stage, which lead numerous audience members to get up and head for the lobby. Most of them scrambled back when the musicians returned to the stage and patiently waited for them.
The performance of the Musical Offering itself was uneven and idiosyncratic, although it picked up steam in the trio and improved from there. The "Coffee" Cantata, on the second half, was much more straightforward and entertaining, starting with the tenor's surprise entrance from the rear of the theater, in stage clothes.
I'm predicting light posting in the next few weeks; for one thing, it's just that time of the season, and for another, Dr. LP hit town on Wednesday night, which means there's nuptials to be planned and at least one party of which we'll be the center. Still, be sure to look in once or twice before the end of the year; there will certainly be a few more nights of activity -- not to mention those inevitable top ten lists, which I'm not allowed to reveal until the issue of TONY in which they'll appear hit the stands on December 26.
Robert Schumann - Genoveva Overture; Piano Concerto in A minor*; Symphony No. 4 (arr. Mahler) - Martha Argerich*, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly (Decca Concerts download)
King Crimson - Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA, Aug 13, 1982 (DGMLive.com free download, a pitch-corrected version of King Crimson Collectors Club Vol. 14)
Grateful Dead - Download Series: A Night at the Family Dog, San Francisco, CA, Feb. 4, 1970 and Dick's Picks, Vol. 20: Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, NY 09/28/76 (Grateful Dead)
Yes - Essentially Yes (Eagle 5-CD box)
Hatfield and the North - Hattitude (Hatco)
21st Century Schizoid Band - Pictures of a City: Live in New York (Iceni)