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George Friderich Handel - Handel: Jephtha

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Handel: Jephtha

The Sixteen & Harry Christophers

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Jephtha (1751) was Handel's last oratorio. It does not have quite the dramatic sweep of Messiah or Israel in Egypt, but it contains many moments equal to anything in Handel. These include the choruses, several of which are among the most dramatically effective fugues ever composed. One attractive feature of this excellent recording of the oratorio under the directorship of Harry Christophers is that these choruses are crystal clear in texture, with all the words intelligible: hard enough for the soloists, who likewise won't have you turning to the booklet, and well-nigh remarkable for a chorus. Christophers' group the Sixteen consists of 18 members here, plus an orchestra of 30, so this is a fairly sizable performance by current standards. At no time does the performance feel bulky or anything other than perfectly under control. Best of all are the soloists, who get the dramatic best out of the story. The oratorio is based on the story of Jephtha in the Book of Judges, who swore if granted victory to sacrifice the first creature he met. Unfortunately that turns out to be his daughter, Iphis. Unlike in the Bible, the oratorio's libretto by the Rev. Thomas Morell provides a deus ex machina in the form of an angel, but that leaves plenty of histrionics for tenor James Gilchrist in the title role. Especially effective are Sophie Bevan in the role of Iphis and countertenor Robin Blaze as her boyfriend, Hamor, but really there is not a weak spot in this performance, honed by several live realizations in front of a demanding Barbican crowd in London. A strong candidate for any Handel library.
© TiVo

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Handel: Jephtha

George Friderich Handel

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1
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I: Overture
00:07:30

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

2
Jephtha, HWV.70, Act I, Scene 1: Accompagnato. "It Must Be So" - Air. "Pour Forth No More"
00:04:17

Matthew Brook, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

3
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 1: "No More to Ammon's God and King"
00:02:43

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

4
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 2: Recitative. "But Jephtha Comes" - Air. "Virtue My Soul Shall Still Embrace"
00:04:45

Matthew Brook, MainArtist - James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

5
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 3: Recitative. "'Twill Be a Painful Separation" - Air. "In Gentle Murmurs"
00:05:01

Susan Bickley, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

6
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 3: Recitative. "Happy This Embassy" - Air. "Dull Delay"
00:03:44

Robin Blaze, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

7
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 3: Recitative. "Ill Suits the Voice of Love" - Air. "Take the Heart"
00:03:36

The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

8
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 3: Recitative. "I Go; My Soul" - Duet. "These Labors Past"
00:06:40

Robin Blaze, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

9
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 4: Recitative. "What Mean These Doubtful Fancies" - Accompagnato. "If, Lord" - Recitative. "'Tis Said"
00:02:00

James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

10
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 4: "O God, Behold Our Sore Distress"
00:04:16

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

11
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 5: Recitative. "Some Dire Event" - Air. "Scenes of Horror"
00:04:57

Susan Bickley, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

12
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 5: Recitative. "Say, My Dear Mother" - Air. "The Smiling Dawn"
00:03:43

Susan Bickley, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

13
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act I, Scene 5: Recitative. "Such, Jephtha, Was the Haughty King's Reply" - "When His Loud Voice Spoke in Thunder"
00:05:14

Matthew Brook, MainArtist - James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

DISC 2

1
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 1: Recitative. "Glad Tidings of Great Joy to Thee"
00:01:18

Robin Blaze, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

2
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 1: "Cherub and Seraphim"
00:03:16

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

3
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 1: Air. "'Up the Dreadful Steep Ascending"
00:04:07

Robin Blaze, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

4
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 2: Recitative. "'Tis Well" - Air. "Tune the Soft Melodious Lute"
00:05:13

The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

5
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 2: Recitative. "Heav'n Smiles Once More" - Air. "His Mighty Arm"
00:05:55

James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

6
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 2: "In Glory High, in Might Serene"
00:02:31

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

7
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act 2, Scene III: Symphony
00:01:08

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

8
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 3: Recitative. "Hail, Glorious Conqueror!" - Air. "Welcome as the Cheerful Light"
00:04:18

The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

9
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 3: Recitative. "Horror! Confusion!" - Air. "Open thy marble jaws"
00:04:52

James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

10
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 3: Recitative. "Why is My Brother Thus Afflicted?"
00:01:08

Matthew Brook, MainArtist - James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

11
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 3: Accompagnato and Air. "First Perish Thou"
00:02:18

Susan Bickley, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

12
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 3: Recitative. "If Such Thy Cruel Purpose" - Air. "On Me Let Blind Mistaken Zeal"
00:02:10

Robin Blaze, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

13
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 3: Quartet. "O Spare Your Daughter"
00:03:12

Robin Blaze, MainArtist - Susan Bickley, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer - Jephtha, MainArtist - Zebul, MainArtist

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

14
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 4: Recitative. "Such News Flies Swift" - Accompagnato. "For Joys so Vast"
00:01:15

The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

15
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 4: Air. "Happy They; This Vital Breath"
00:03:50

The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

16
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 4: Accompagnato. "Deeper and Deeper Still"
00:03:17

James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

17
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 4: "How Dark, O Lord, are Thy Decrees"
00:07:26

James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

DISC 3

1
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 1: Air. "Hide Thou Thy Hated Beams, O Sun, in Clouds"
00:02:42

James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

2
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 1: Accompagnato. "A Father Off'ring Up" - Air. "Waft Her, Angels"
00:05:18

James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

3
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 1: Accompagnato. "Ye Sacred Priests" - Air. "Fairwell, ye Limpid Springs and Floods"
00:05:33

The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

4
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 1: "Doubtful Fear and Rev'rent Awe"
00:03:55

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

5
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 1: Sinfonia
00:02:39

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

6
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 1: Recitative. "Rise, Jephtha" - Air. "Happy, Iphis, Shalt Thou Live"
00:05:15

Grace Davidson, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

7
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 1: Air. "For Ever Blessed by Thy Holy Name"
00:01:01

James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

8
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 1: "Theme Sublime of Endless Praise"
00:03:16

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

9
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 2: Recitative. "Let Me Congratulate" - Air. "Laud Her, all ye Virgin Train"
00:02:38

Matthew Brook, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

10
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 2: Recitative. "Oh, Let Me Fold Thee in a Mother's Arms" - Air. "Sweet as Sight to the Blind"
00:02:46

Susan Bickley, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

11
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 2: Recitative. "With Transport, Iphis" - Air. "'Tis Heav'n's All-Ruling Pow'r"
00:05:26

Robin Blaze, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

12
Jephtha, HWV.70, Act III, Scene 2: Recitative. "My Faithful Hamor" - Quintet. "All That is in Hamor is Mine"
00:03:50

Robin Blaze, MainArtist - Matthew Brook, MainArtist - Susan Bickley, MainArtist - James Gilchrist, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sophie Bevan, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

13
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act III, Scene 2: "Ye House of Gilead, With One Voice"
00:03:49

The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

14
Jephtha, HWV 70, Act II, Scene 2: Recitative. "Again Heav'n Smiles" - Air. "Freedom Now"
00:04:01

Matthew Brook, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - George Friderich Handel, Composer

(C) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2014 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

Album Description

Jephtha (1751) was Handel's last oratorio. It does not have quite the dramatic sweep of Messiah or Israel in Egypt, but it contains many moments equal to anything in Handel. These include the choruses, several of which are among the most dramatically effective fugues ever composed. One attractive feature of this excellent recording of the oratorio under the directorship of Harry Christophers is that these choruses are crystal clear in texture, with all the words intelligible: hard enough for the soloists, who likewise won't have you turning to the booklet, and well-nigh remarkable for a chorus. Christophers' group the Sixteen consists of 18 members here, plus an orchestra of 30, so this is a fairly sizable performance by current standards. At no time does the performance feel bulky or anything other than perfectly under control. Best of all are the soloists, who get the dramatic best out of the story. The oratorio is based on the story of Jephtha in the Book of Judges, who swore if granted victory to sacrifice the first creature he met. Unfortunately that turns out to be his daughter, Iphis. Unlike in the Bible, the oratorio's libretto by the Rev. Thomas Morell provides a deus ex machina in the form of an angel, but that leaves plenty of histrionics for tenor James Gilchrist in the title role. Especially effective are Sophie Bevan in the role of Iphis and countertenor Robin Blaze as her boyfriend, Hamor, but really there is not a weak spot in this performance, honed by several live realizations in front of a demanding Barbican crowd in London. A strong candidate for any Handel library.
© TiVo

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