Trevor Pinnock, The English Concert & Choir - Handel: Belshazzar (2004)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Trevor Pinnock, The English Concert & Choir - Handel: Belshazzar (2004)

Trevor Pinnock, The English Concert & Choir - Handel: Belshazzar (2004)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 793 Mb | Total time: 57:18+52:43+61:30 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Archiv Produktion | # 477 037-2 | Recorded: 1990

Belshazzar (HWV 61) is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel. The libretto was by Charles Jennens, and Handel abridged it considerably. Jennens' libretto was based on the Biblical account of the fall of Babylon at the hands of Cyrus the Great and the subsequent freeing of the Jewish nation, as found in the Book of Daniel.
Handel composed Belshazzar in the late Summer of 1744 concurrently with Hercules, during a time that Winton Dean calls "the peak of Handel's creative life".The work premiered the following Lenten season on 27 March 1745 at the King's Theatre, London.The work fell into neglect after Handel's death, with revivals of the work occurring in the United Kingdom in 1847, 1848 and 1873.With the revival of interest in Baroque music and historically informed musical performance since the 1960s, Belsahzzar receives performances in concert form today and is also sometimes fully staged as an opera.

Matthias Jung, Batzdorfer Hofkapelle, Sachsisches Vocalensemble - Lotti: Vesper Psalms (2006)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Matthias Jung, Batzdorfer Hofkapelle, Sachsisches Vocalensemble - Lotti: Vesper Psalms (2006)

Matthias Jung, Batzdorfer Hofkapelle, Sächsisches Vocalensemble - Lotti: Vesper Psalms (2006)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 351 Mb | Total time: 68:08 | Scans included
Classical | Label: CPO | # 777 180-2 | Recorded: 2005

The conventional wisdom about Venetian Antonio Lotti, composer of the a cappella masterwork "Crucifixus," is that as a card-carrying member of the stil antico he represented a conservative viewpoint akin to that of his later contemporary Leonardo Leo – the fewer instruments the better, the closer to the polyphonic language of Palestrina the better. Moreover, if the "Crucifixus" was the only work of Lotti that someone became acquainted with, then he/she could not be blamed for believing this was so, although he/she might note the distinct Baroque harmonic coloring of the piece as being rather unlike that of Palestrina. Here is a challenge for you – CPO's Antonio Lotti: Vesper Psalms performed by the Sächsisches Vocalensemble and Batzdorfer Hofkapelle under Matthias Jung. It presents a selection of Lotti's surviving concerted sacred choral works, pieces that are scored with a small Baroque orchestra and easily comparable to contemporary music by Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, and his direct competitor Antonio Vivaldi. Careful scrutiny of the poorly compiled worklist for Lotti in Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians reveals that some of these pieces are so listed, but with no mention whatsoever of the instrumental forces involved; they are identified as a cappella works just like the others. One wonders to the extent of Grove's oversight in this matter.

Antonio Pappano, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House - Gounod: Faust (2010)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Antonio Pappano, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House - Gounod: Faust (2010)

Antonio Pappano, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House - Gounod: Faust (2010)
NTSC 16:9 (720x480) | Francais (LinearPCM, 2 ch) | Francais (DTS, 6 ch) | 163 min | 6.07+3.83 GB (DVD9&DVD5)
Classics | Label: EMI Classics | Sub: English, Francais, Deutsch, Italiano, Espanol

Angela Gheorghiu stars as Marguerite alongside a divine cast of operatic superstars, including Roberto Alagna, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside and Sophie Koch, in David McVicar's spectacular 2004 production of Gounod's best known opera, Faust, for the Royal Opera House in London. This production was the Royal Opera Company's first performance of Gounod's Faust in 18 years. Gounod's Faust is the story of a scholar who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly indulgences. McVicar's innovative production sets this story around the time of the Franco-Prussian War (1870) in the gothic, seamy underbelly of Paris. He characterizes Faust, performed by Roberto Alagna, as a man both torn between the theater and religion, and grappling with his own sexuality.

Riccardo Chailly, Orchestra Filarmonica Della Scala - Gioacchino Rossini: Cantatas Vol.2 (2001)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Riccardo Chailly, Orchestra Filarmonica Della Scala - Gioacchino Rossini: Cantatas Vol.2 (2001)

Riccardo Chailly, Orchestra Filarmonica Della Scala - Gioacchino Rossini: Cantatas Vol.2 (2001)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 295 Mb | Total time: 68:42 | Scans included
Classical | Label: DECCA | # 466 328-2 | Recorded: 1997-98

Here are two of Rossini's "secular" cantatas: "The Lament of Harmony on the Death of Orpheus" for tenor, male chorus, and orchestra, written when he was a 16-year-old conservatory student, and the far more substantial "Wedding of Thetis and Peleus," one of many such pieces he composed for special occasions, commissioned for the marriage of an Italian princess to a French prince. Both consist of primarily short, separate, contrasting numbers, most of which would be perfectly at home in the opera house.

George Petrou, Camerata Stuttgart - Handel: Oreste (2004)

Posted By: ArlegZ
George Petrou, Camerata Stuttgart - Handel: Oreste (2004)

George Petrou, Camerata Stuttgart - Handel: Oreste (2004)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 627 Mb | Total time: 76:39+68:51 | Scans included
Classical | Label: MDG | # 609 1273-2 | Recorded: 2004

Ever the recycler, Handel cobbled together Oreste from parts of pre-existing scores for his 1734 season at Covent Garden. The work promptly disappeared from the repertory for the next 250 years – a fact that is both understandable, given that it's a less convincing result than his fully original operas, and a shame, since Handel's table scraps are still amongst the most entertaining morsels from the period. The present recording, by George Petrou, the Camerata Stuttgart, and a cast of mostly Greek singers, is its first complete performance on CD and an admirably realized production, characterized by polished, stylish singing and vivid orchestral playing. In style, sound, and dramatic pacing, Petrou's effort distinguishes itself as a fine entry in the Handelian opera catalog, and makes a compelling argument for the musical value of the piece itself.

George Petrou, Orchestra of Patras - Handel: Arianna in Creta (2005)

Posted By: ArlegZ
George Petrou, Orchestra of Patras - Handel: Arianna in Creta (2005)

George Petrou, Orchestra of Patras - Handel: Arianna in Creta (2005)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 759 Mb | Total time: 54:25+67:56+41:33 | Scans included
Classical | Label: MDG | # 609 1375-2 | Recorded: 2005

In the winter of 1733-1734, the opera houses of London were abounding in Ariannas. In late December, Porpora's Arianna in Nasso was staged by the Opera of the Nobility. In late January, Handel's Arianna in Creta was staged by the composer's own opera company. Comparison, apparently, proved odious – and fatal: Porpora's Naxos Arianna has fallen from the repertoire while Handel's Cretan Arianna has barely hung on by her finger tips. This 2005 Greek performance with George Petrou leading the Orchestra of Patras is the work's first recording in decades – and, thankfully, it's quite fine. Most of the women soloists – and whether their characters are male or female, most of the parts here are sung by woman because most of the parts then were written for castratos – are terrific. Mata Katsuli is sweet but strong in the title role and Theodora Baka is especially effective and affecting as Alceste. The period instrument Orchestra of Patras is stylish, colorful, and lively, particularly the winds and brass playing in the finale. As captured in Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm characteristically crisp, deep, and detailed sound, this Arianna is well worth hearing by anyone who reveres the operas of the German-English composer.
(James Leonard)

Gerard Lesne, Il Seminario musicale - Vivaldi: Salve Regina, Violin concerto RV 581; Galuppi: Motets (2004)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Gerard Lesne,  Il Seminario musicale - Vivaldi: Salve Regina, Violin concerto RV 581; Galuppi: Motets (2004)

Gérard Lesne, Il Seminario musicale - Vivaldi: Salve Regina, Violin concerto RV 581; Galuppi: Motets (2004)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 507 Mb | Total time: 66:34+56:29 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin | # 5 62413 2 | Recorded: 1991-92

Gérard Lesne founded the Il Seminario musicale Ensemble in 1985. Since 1990, the Ensemble has been in residence at the Royaumont Foundation, where it attracts vocalists and instrumentalists who share Lesne's enthusiam for the 17th and 18th century Italian repertoire. The musicians perform on old instruments and strive to reproduce as faithfully as possible the lilt and narrative line characteristic of the baroque style as expressed in works by composers such as Monteverdi, Cavalli, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Caldara, Pergolesi, and the others. The size of the ensemble is variable depending on the repertoire. Based on a rich and varied continuo section (theorbo, cello, basson, double bass, organ and harpsichord) supporting one or more soloists, it can be expanded with the addition of a string quartet to make a small chamber orchestra suitable for performing chamber operas. Responsibility for the Ensemble's musical direction is shared by the instrumentalists and vocalists.

Kevin Mallon, Aradia Ensemble - Vivaldi: Griselda (2008)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Kevin Mallon,  Aradia Ensemble - Vivaldi: Griselda (2008)

Kevin Mallon, Aradia Ensemble - Vivaldi: Griselda (2008)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 723 Mb | Total time: 65:17+64:21+39:28 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Naxos | # 8.660211-13 | Recorded: 2006

Vivaldi’s Griselda, one of more than twenty operas, is based on a story retold in Boccaccio’s Il decamerone about the testing of Griselda’s patience and virtue by her royal husband through a series of cruel trials. The sense of drama that permeates many of Vivaldi’s more programmatic works, such as the Four Seasons, is very naturally carried over into his operas, especially with the use of so-called ‘simile’ arias, in which an emotional state is compared with various natural phenomena. Several very fine examples can be heard in Griselda, including Costanza’s extraordinary ‘Agitata da due venti’ in Act Two; the text compares love and duty with two contrary winds, and the setting is correspondingly wild, with fierce fioriture and wide leaps.

Ettore Gracis, Charles Mackerras - Pergolesi: Stabat Mater; A. Scarlatti: Stabat Mater & 6 Concerti grossi (1999)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Ettore Gracis, Charles Mackerras - Pergolesi: Stabat Mater; A. Scarlatti: Stabat Mater & 6 Concerti grossi (1999)

Ettore Gracis, Charles Mackerras - Pergolesi: Stabat Mater; A. Scarlatti: Stabat Mater & 6 Concerti grossi (1999)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 653 Mb | Total time: 71:00+68:09 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Archiv Produktion | # 459 454-2 | Recorded: 1967, 1972, 1975

The Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, which portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Its author may be either the Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III. The title comes from its first line, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which means "the sorrowful mother was standing". The hymn is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Stabat Mater has been set to music by many Western composers.

George Guest, St John's College Choir, Roger Norrington, Schutz Choir - Pergolesi, Scarlatti, Bononcini: Stabat Mater (1995)

Posted By: ArlegZ
George Guest, St John's College Choir, Roger Norrington, Schutz Choir - Pergolesi, Scarlatti, Bononcini: Stabat Mater (1995)

George Guest, St John's College Choir, Roger Norrington, Schütz Choir - Pergolesi, Scarlatti, Bononcini: Stabat Mater (1995)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 645 Mb | Total time: 141:57 | Scans included
Classical | Label: DECCA | # 443 868-2 | Recorded: 1966, 74, 78, 80

This anthology of devotional music from 18th-century Venice and Naples offers an interesting and varied programme. Best known is Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, but the settings by Domenico Scarlatti and Bononcini stand well in comparison. The motets by Lotti, Caldara and Alessandro Scarlatti are real discoveries; Norrington’s performances of the latter are particularly fine. Guest’s Pergolesi suffers from a focus of sound which makes the interpretation seem somewhat generalised. However, all these performances give pleasure, while the music is melodically fresh and rhythmically vital.
-Terry Barfoot

Dimitri Jurowski, Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia - Cherubini: Lo sposo di tre e marito di nessuna (2006)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Dimitri Jurowski, Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia - Cherubini: Lo sposo di tre e marito di nessuna (2006)

Dimitri Jurowski, Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia - Cherubini: Lo sposo di tre e marito di nessuna (2006)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 643 Mb | Total time: 76:52+74:03 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Dynamic | # CDS 503/1-2 | Recorded: 2006

Composed in 1783, Thrice Betrothed, Never Wed was the young Cherubini’s fifth opera and his first opera buffa. While it echoes its era—Paisiello, Cimarosa, Haydn, and early Mozart—it displays an almost Rossinian rhythmic bite and a few harmonic touches that look forward to the dramatic masterpieces of Cherubini’s Paris years (Lodoiska, Medée, Les deux journées, Anacréon, the C-Minor Requiem). Despite decades-long exploration of Cherubini, I have never encountered the opera before; this claims to be its first recording. The plot is filled with the expected inanities: disguises, mistaken identities, and Commedia dell’arte shenanigans. Don Pastacchio is the thrice-betrothed nobleman who is left standing when the music stops. After many false starts and red herrings, the other six characters finally match up into couples.

Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, Rafael Kubelik - Mozart: Requiem, Great Mass in C minor, Missa brevis in C major (1998)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, Rafael Kubelik - Mozart: Requiem, Great Mass in C minor, Missa brevis in C major (1998)

Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, Rafael Kubelik - Mozart: Requiem, Great Mass in C minor, Missa brevis in C major (1998)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 568 Mb | Total time: 53:02+74:17 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Deutsche Grammophon | # 459 409-2 | Recorded: 1973, 1975, 1989

Two great recordings of two of the greatest choral works. Karajan and Levin swoops the standards of tempi, phrasing and intens music making. Karajan's finest recording of the Requiem. Levin sets the bar a milestone higher. Remastering of the Requiem is confidentional good. Sound quality of K327 is superb.

Diego Fasolis, I Barocchisti - Scarlatti: Il Martirio di Santa Cecilia (2008)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Diego Fasolis, I Barocchisti - Scarlatti: Il Martirio di Santa Cecilia (2008)

Diego Fasolis, I Barocchisti - Scarlatti: Il Martirio di Santa Cecilia (2008)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 505 Mb | Total time: 108:49 | Scans included
Classical | Label: CPO | # 777 258-2 | Recorded: 2000

Until recently all traces of Alessandro Scarlatti’s oratorio Il martirio di Santa Cecilia had been lost. Discovered in the manuscript collection of the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Cologny, near Geneva, this oratorio which had been undiscovered for decades was immediately performed in Zurich. Karl Böhmer (the booklet author) and Oliver Mattern produced the first modern edition of the work. The interpreters on that occasion are again featured on the present recording. This sacred tragedy could rightly be termed one of the most dramatic and mature oratorios of the Roman baroque. Although there are no choruses, the action is portrayed with long recitative dialogues between the protagonists, and the music’s strongest moments come when the recitatives go over into expressive accompagnati, widely ranging ariosi, and affective arias. Like all of Scarlatti’s gloomy, fatalistic oratorios, this work culminates in bloody scenes of murder and martyrdom.

Sergio Balestracci, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto - Johann Gottlieb Naumann: La Passione di Gesu Cristo (2008)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Sergio Balestracci, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto - Johann Gottlieb Naumann: La Passione di Gesu Cristo (2008)

Sergio Balestracci, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto - Johann Gottlieb Naumann: La Passione di Gesù Cristo (2008)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 508 Mb | Total time: 120:04 | Scans included
Classical | Label: CPO | # 777 365-2 | Recorded: 2006

JJohann Gottlieb Naumann, a contemporary of Joseph Haydn, was associated with Dresden, worked in Sweden and travelled in Italy. In his Passione di Gesù Cristo he concentrates on smaller scale emotions and conflicts – albeit in the context of the (conventional) Passion story. It was written, probably, in 1767. That’s quite an undertaking for a twenty-six year old, although Naumann already had several other vocal and choral successes to his name.

Martin Haselbock, Wiener Akademie - Nicola Porpora: Il Gedeone (1999)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Martin Haselbock, Wiener Akademie - Nicola Porpora: Il Gedeone (1999)

Martin Haselböck, Wiener Akademie - Nicola Porpora: Il Gedeone (1999)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 482 Mb | Total time: 111:41 | Scans included
Classical | Label: CPO | # 999 615-2 | Recorded: 1998

With a libretto based on the Old Testament account of Gideon and his non-violent triumph over the Midianites, the Neapolitan composer Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) produced a score which, though far from consistent, has moments of great beauty. Among them are Gideon’s aria ‘Cadranno i lupi’; a sublime Sinfonia at the opening of Part Two; a couple of fine choruses and, above all, beautifully wrought recitatives. These apart, don’t expect a forgotten masterpiece. This performance – the first in modern times – boasts competent and well-matched soloists. Countertenor Kai Wessel as the eponymous hero gives a poised and musical account, though his voice could benefit from a weightier lower register. Male soprano Jörg Waschinski produces an ethereal, emasculated sound that is, perhaps, as close as we can come to that of the original soprano castrato who sang the part of Gideon’s enemy, Oreb. (Pity the man – he ends up losing his head, not to mention his unmentionables.) But most impressive is soprano Linda Perillo (Gideon’s wife, Sichemi) whose singing is by turns agile, sensuous and dramatic. Martin Haselböck draws some silvery string playing from the Vienna Academy, and if his shaping of the oratorio can lack momentum, at least he avoids the aggressively hard-driven style of some period performances.
-Kate Bolton