Georg Friedrich Händel: Israel in Egypt

Georg Friedrich Händel: Israel in Egypt

by Holger SpeckHolger Speck

SACD(Super Audio CD - SACD Hybrid)



The history of "Israel in Egypt" has been somewhat problematic. It was only the second of Handel's English oratorios, and the first in which the choral sections overshadow the solos, a concept that perplexed and displeased the original London audiences in 1739, who were used to their evenings in the theater dominated by virtuosic solos. When Handel revived the work in 1756, he trimmed it considerably, entirely omitting the first section. This recording, with Holger Speck leading Vocalensemble Rastatt and the instrumental ensemble Les Favorites, uses the original complete score, which gives it a clear edge over the many abbreviated performances available of what was once considered the standard performing version. Speck's reading tends to be on the reserved side. The performance is precise and disciplined, straightforward but energetic when called for, although the fieriest choruses lack the passion to really stir the blood. Even so, there's much to be said for performances that can transcend the churchy starchiness that often clings to this repertoire. The singers and players are absolutely in tune and perform with attractive tone that is nicely varied from movement to movement, depending on the character of the music. The seven soloists are very fine without being exceptional, and they blend beautifully in the many small ensembles. This performance makes a solid and appealing introduction to the work for those who don't know it and for anyone who knows it only in its shortened form. The sound of the Carus SACD is clean and vivid; the bass is particularly strong, and the trombones and bassoons dramatically make their presence known.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/10/2009
Label: Carus
UPC: 0409350834233
catalogNumber: 83423


  1. Israel in Egypt, oratorio, HWV 54

    1. Part 1. Symphony  (02:45)
    2. Part 3. Chorus. Moses and the children of Israel  (03:30)
    3. Part 1. Chorus. The sons of Israel do mourn  (09:23)
    4. Part 3. Duet. The Lord is my strength  (03:34)
    5. Part 1. Quartet. When the ear heard him  (03:03)
    6. Part 3. Chorus. He is my God  (03:04)
    7. Part 1. Chorus. How is the mighty fall'n  (06:44)
    8. Part 3. Duet. The Lord is a man of war  (05:38)
    9. Part 1. Soli and Chorus. The righteous shall be had  (03:30)
    10. Part 3. Chorus. The depths have cover'd them  (02:08)
    11. Part 1. Chorus. Their bodies are buried in peace  (04:28)
    12. Part 3. Chorus. Thy right hand, O Lord  (03:34)
    13. Part 1. Chorus. The people will tell of their wisdom  (01:49)
    14. Part 3. Chorus. And with the blast of thy nostrils  (02:53)
    15. Part 1. Quartet. They shall receive  (03:26)
    16. Part 3. Air. The enemy said, I will pursue  (02:17)
    17. Part 1. Chorus. The merciful goodness of the Lord  (03:55)
    18. Part 3. Air. Thou didst blow with the wind  (02:17)
    19. Part 2. Recit. Now there arose a new king  (00:24)
    20. Part 3. Chorus. Who is like unto thee, O Lord  (01:58)
    21. Part 2. Solo and Chorus. And the children of Israel  (03:33)
    22. Part 3. Duet. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth thy people  (04:12)
    23. Part 2. Recit. Then sent he Moses  (00:39)
    24. Part 3. Chorus. The people shall hear  (05:10)
    25. Part 2. Chorus. They loathed to drink of the river  (02:25)
    26. Part 3. Air. Thou shalt bring them in  (03:24)
    27. Part 2. Air. Their land brought forth frogs  (02:19)
    28. Part 3. Chorus. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever  (00:40)
    29. Part 2. Chorus. He spake the word  (02:16)
    30. Part 3. Recit. For the horse of Pharaoh  (00:26)
    31. Part 2. Chorus. He gave them hailstones for rain  (02:16)
    32. Part 3. Chorus. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever  (00:39)
    33. Part 2. Chorus. He sent a thick darkness  (02:52)
    34. Part 3. Recit. And Miriam the prophetess  (00:24)
    35. Part 2. Chorus. He smote all the firstborn of Egypt  (02:27)
    36. Part 3. Solo and Chorus. Sing ye to the Lord  (03:19)
    37. Part 2. Chorus. But as for his people  (04:04)
    38. Part 2. Chorus. Egypt was glad when they departed  (02:37)
    39. Part 2. Chorus. He rebuked the Red Sea  (02:41)
    40. Part 2. Chorus. And Israel saw that great work  (02:44)

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