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Oratorios (secular) - Released April 26, 2013 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month - Hi-Res Audio
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Oratorios (secular) - Released September 4, 2012 | Pan Classics

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Oratorios (secular) - Released August 1, 2010 | Glossa

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Oratorios (secular) - Released July 1, 2010 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
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Oratorios (secular) - Released April 9, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Oratorios (secular) - Released September 20, 2007 | Coviello Classics

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Handel's oratorio Alexander's Feast, composed in 1736, is English to the core, with its talky text by John Dryden and straightforward, clearly structured arias and choruses. The victory of Alexander the Great in the Persian city of Persepolis (an impressive ruin today) in 330 BCE was said to have been followed by a feast that gave Dryden the excuse for a sort of ode to the power of music (rendered in mixed language as "the power of musik" in the booklet of this German release), with arias illustrating the various affects. There isn't really any plot or action; the piece is more an extended secular cantata than an oratorio, especially inasmuch as the soloists (the soprano and the tenor are the prominent ones) do not represent characters in the story. Conductor Marcus Bosch and the Aachen Symphony Orchestra, with the joined Aachen Chamber Choir and Overbacher Chamber Choir, are not on the music's home ground, and they're not (except for soprano Dorothee Mields) especially noted as Baroque specialists. But they deliver smooth, agreeable, slightly plummy readings of modest size that fit the text well and avoid the stomping around of many modern-instrument readings. The soloists are a varied group; Mields and alto Judith Berning are German, while Woong-jo Choi is Korean-Swiss and tenor Paul Agnew is from Scotland. The non-Anglophones do quite well with the English -- you know they're not from England, but you can't quite pin down the origin -- and Mields' bright sound is even a bit more in the spirit of the work than Agnew, who is a bit stolid in doggerel like "Happy, happy, happy pair/ None but the brave deserve the fair." The "live" sound (apparently meaning that the music was recorded in single takes, for the recording spanned five days) is superior, and this is the kind of recording both choral singers and their soloists will enjoy setting up as a benchmark for their own activities. Texts are in English and German. © TiVo

Oratorios (secular) - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Oratorios (secular) - Released April 3, 2007 | naïve classique

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Oratorios (secular) - Released September 1, 2005 | Chandos

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Oratorios (secular) - Released March 1, 2003 | Chandos

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Oratorios (secular) - Released November 1, 2002 | Chandos

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Oratorios (secular) - Released October 16, 1959 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or