Handel: Samson

Handel: Samson

by John ButtJohn Butt

CD

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Overview

Handel's "Samson," with an adapted text by John Milton, was among the most popular of his big oratorios in the composer's day, and Handel revived and revised it several times. Nowadays, though, it is not often performed or recorded. There are several reasons for this, including the work's length (nearly three and a half hours in the original 1743 version, performed here: Handel cut it for subsequent performances), a good deal of uncertainty as to how it was supposed to sound, and the odd mixture of oratorio and opera, with heroic arias for the lead character that really don't lead anywhere. This reading by the Dunedin Consort under John Butt makes a good case for the 1743 version and generally manages to put across why the oratorio was so successful. Butt uses a good-sized chorus, augmented on the top line by a group of boy sopranos, and with this, he brings out the contrasts Handel built into the work. The music consists of sections with big, quintessentially Handelian arias and choruses, broken up with stretches of recitatives and quieter arias that reflect on the figure of Samson, the warrior of the "living God." Butt and the Dunedin Consort keep things moving and can move into and out of an operatic mode as needed. The soloists are uniformly strong: Samson's "Total eclipse!" (evocative of Milton's own blindness) and the soprano's "Let the bright seraphim," sung by veteran Mary Bevan, could become standard readings. The momentum holds up over the entire long version: the album is well recorded by Linn in an appropriate London church, and in general, this is both an important and an enjoyable Handel recording.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/2019
Label: Linn Records
UPC: 0691062059923
catalogNumber: 599

Tracks

  1. Samson, oratorio, HWV 57

    1. Act 1: Symphony: Andante  (03:28)
    2. Act 2: Scene 1: Recitative. Despair not thus!  (01:24)
    3. Act 3: Scene 1: Recitative. More trouble is behind  (01:38)
    4. Act 1: Symphony: Allegro  (01:36)
    5. Act 2: Scene 1: Air. Just are the ways of God to man  (03:06)
    6. Act 3: Scene 1: Air. Presuming slave, to move their wrath!  (03:22)
    7. Act 1: Symphony: Menuet  (02:29)
    8. Act 2: Scene 1: Recitative. My evils hopeless are!  (00:31)
    9. Act 3: Scene 1: Wrath! Recitative. Reflect then, Samson  (00:51)
    10. Act 1: Scene 1: Recitative: This day. a solemn feast  (00:33)
    11. Act 2: Scene 1: Air and Chorus. Return. O God of hosts!  (07:53)
    12. Act 3: Scene 1: Chorus. With thunder arm'd, great God, arise!  (02:41)
    13. Act 1: Scene 1: Chorus. Awake the trumpet's lofty sound!  (02:04)
    14. Act 2: Scene 2: Recitative. But who is this  (03:23)
    15. Act 3: Scene 1: Recitative. Be of good courage  (02:19)
    16. Act 1: Scene 1: Air. Ye men of Gaza  (04:06)
    17. Act 2: Scene 2: Air. With plaintive notes  (07:13)
    18. Act 3: Scene 1: Accompagnato. Then shall I make Jehovah's glory known!  (00:31)
    19. Act 1: Scene 1: Chorus. Awake the trumpet's lofty sound!  (00:29)
    20. Act 2: Scene 2: Recitative. Alas! Th'event was worse  (00:59)
    21. Act 3: Scene 1: Air. Thus when the sun from's wat'ry bed  (04:43)
    22. Act 1: Scene 1: Air. Loud as the thunder's awful voice  (02:52)
    23. Act 2: Scene 2: Air. Your charms to ruin led the way  (02:47)
    24. Act 3: Scene 1: Accompagnato. With might endued above the sons of men  (00:32)
    25. Act 1: Scene 1: Air. Then free from sorrow  (02:32)
    26. Act 2: Scene 2: Recitative. Forgive what's done  (00:30)
    27. Act 3: Scene 1: Air and Chorus. The holy one of Israel  (02:21)
    28. Act 1: Scene 1: Chorus. Awake the trumpet's lofty sound!  (00:29)
    29. Act 2: Scene 2: Duet. My faith and truth  (04:25)
    30. Act 3: Scene 2: Recitative. Old Manoa, with youthful steps  (00:29)
    31. Act 1: Scene 1: Recitative. Why by an angel  (00:49)
    32. Act 2: Scene 2: Chorus. Her faith and truth  (01:11)
    33. Act 3: Scene 2: Air and Chorus. Great Dagon has subdu'd our foe  (03:45)
    34. Act 1: Scene 1: Air. Torments, alas, are not confin'd  (04:53)
    35. Act 2: Scene 2: Air. To fleeting pleasures make your court  (03:05)
    36. Act 3: Scene 2: Recitative. What noise of joy was that?  (00:49)
    37. Act 1: Scene 2: Recitative. Oh, change beyond report  (00:48)
    38. Act 2: Scene 2: Chorus. Her faith and truth  (01:11)
    39. Act 3: Scene 2: Air. How willing my paternal love  (03:44)
    40. Act 1: Scene 2: Air. O mirror of our fickle state!  (03:38)
    41. Act 2: Scene 2: Recitative. Ne'er think of that!  (01:34)
    42. Act 3: Scene 2: Recitative. Your hopes of his deliv'ry  (00:17)
    43. Act 1: Scene 2: Recitative. Whom have I to complain of but myself  (03:00)
    44. Act 2: Scene 2: Duet. Traitor to love  (01:39)
    45. Act 3: Scene 2: Symphony. Presto  (00:19)
    46. Act 1: Scene 2: Air. Total eclipse!  (04:03)
    47. Act 2: Scene 3: Recitative She's gone!  (00:20)
    48. Act 3: Scene 2: Recitative. Heav'n! What noise!  (00:05)
    49. Act 1: Scene 2: Accompagnato. Since light so necessary is to life  (01:17)
    50. Act 2: Scene 3: Air. It is not virtue  (03:59)
    51. Act 3: Scene 2: Chorus. Hear us, our God!  (01:12)
    52. Act 1: Scene 2: Chorus. O first created beam  (03:10)
    53. Act 2: Scene 3: Recitative. Favour'd of heav'n is he  (00:21)
    54. Act 3: Scene 2: Recitative. Noise call you this?  (00:48)
    55. Act 1: Scene 2: Recitative. Ye see, my friends  (01:57)
    56. Act 2: Scene 3: Chorus. To man God's universal law  (02:34)
    57. Act 3: Scene 3: Recitative. Where shall I run  (03:48)
    58. Act 1: Scene 3: Recitative. Brethren and men of Dan  (00:31)
    59. Act 2: Scene 4: Recitative. No words of peace  (01:54)
    60. Act 3: Scene 3: Air and Chorus. Ye sons of Israel, now lament  (03:43)
    61. Act 1: Scene 3: Accompagnato. Oh, miserable change!  (00:59)
    62. Act 2: Scene 4: Air. Honour and arms scorn such a foe  (05:44)
    63. Act 3: Scene 3: Recitative. Proceed we hence to find his body  (01:44)
    64. Act 1: Scene 3: Recitative. Oh, ever failing trust  (00:13)
    65. Act 2: Scene 4: Recitative. Put on your arms  (00:11)
    66. Act 3: Scene 3: Soh and Chorus. Glorious hero  (05:39)
    67. Act 1: Scene 3: Air. God of our fathers  (02:28)
    68. Act 2: Scene 4: Air. My strength is from the living God  (02:55)
    69. Act 3: Scene 3: Recitative. Come, come!  (01:04)
    70. Act 1: Scene 3: Accompagnato. The good we wish for  (01:15)
    71. Act 2: Scene 4: Recitative. With thee, a man condemn'd  (00:52)
    72. Act 3: Scene 3: Air. Let the bright seraphim  (02:58)
    73. Act 1: Scene 3: Air. Thy glorious deeds inspir'd my tongue  (04:26)
    74. Act 2: Scene 4: Duet. Go, baffled coward, go  (02:18)
    75. Act 3: Scene 3: Chorus. Let their celestial concerts all unite  (03:09)
    76. Act 1: Scene 3: Recitative. Justly these evils  (01:40)
    77. Act 2: Scene 4: Recitative. Here lie the proof  (00:51)
    78. Act 1: Scene 3: Accompagnato. My griefs for this  (01:02)
    79. Act 2: Scene 4: Chorus. Hear, Jacob's God  (03:23)
    80. Act 1: Scene 3: Air. Why does the God of Israel sleep?  (04:39)
    81. Act 2: Scene 4: Recitative. Dagon, arise  (00:16)
    82. Act 1: Scene 3: Recitative. There lies our hope!  (00:22)
    83. Act 2: Scene 4: Air. To song and dance we give the day  (04:06)
    84. Act 1: Scene 3: Chorus. Then shall they know  (02:27)
    85. Act 2: Scene 4: Chorus. To song and dance we give the day  (02:04)
    86. Act 1: Scene 3: Recitative. For thee, my dearest son  (01:42)
    87. Act 2: Scene 4: Chorus and Soli. Fix'd in his everlasting seat  (03:04)
    88. Act 1: Scene 3: Accompagnato. My genial spirits droop  (01:28)
    89. Act 1: Scene 3: Arioso. Then long eternity shall greet your bliss  (02:09)
    90. Act 1: Scene 3: Air. Joys that are pure  (03:01)
    91. Act 1: Scene 3: Chorus. Then round about the starry throne  (02:32)

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Butt   Primary Artist

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