Your favourite lesser-known Handel
So, the discussion of English composers naturally led to Handel. He's certainly one of my favourites, and not just of English composers. I love playing his keyboard suites and his Concerti Grossi, Op. 6, are splendid. As is much of his work.
But the work that has the deepest place in my heart is his Dixit Dominus. The Messiah tends to dwarf Handel's other oratorios, at least in the general public perception, but give me Dixit any day!
I've performed Dixit in a couple of choirs, the first time when I was 17, and I became a rabid fan. (Maybe when I know you better I'll share a risqué story about that. Or maybe not. 😆) The choruses are a marvel to sing. As an alto, I couldn't help but contrast the delicious lines we were given to sing by Handel to the staggering boredom of many of Haydn's alto lines (A, A, A, A, A♭, A).
There's a lovely performance of Dixit on YouTube, with Gardiner conducting. The soloists are choir members, which I rather like. Gardiner's conducting has the vibrant life force I really associate with Dixit.
Do you have a favourite work by Handel that's not quite as famous as its counterparts?
Oh yes, the Op.6 Concerti Grossi are a delight, and I like the Op.3 set perhaps even more.
I had to smile, Rose, at your mention of Dixit Dominus - there’s so much energy in that work. I too have sung it a few times, and recall all those octave leaps and falls in the last chorus. A great work to finish a concert!
But my favourite lesser known work? I might choose something different tomorrow, but today it would be the delicious Chandos Anthem As Pants the Hart.
Love the Alexander's Feast! And concerti grossi, especially here this recording with the Berlin Akademie für alte Musik:
And the 9 Deutsche Arien and some very lovely violin sonatas.... But I better don't start a discussion here which composer I prefer, and why, Bach or Händel.... 🙂
@johann-agricola “But I better don't start a discussion here which composer I prefer, and why, Bach or Händel.... 🙂”
I’d welcome a discussion on that topic!
And yes, indeed, Alexander’s Feast is wonderful.
How about The Triumph of Time and Truth? It may not be the greatest (if such a thing can be measured) of Handel’s Oratorios but I’m very taken with it: the wonderful arias, the quotations from so many of Handel’s earlier compositions. I recall, many years ago, being overawed to hear this in concert at St George’s Hanover Square (Handel’s own parish church in London), with a stunning cast including Emma Kirkby and Stephen Varcoe.
What a concert that must have been, Jen. And I confess, I am not familiar with The Triumph of Time & Truth. And so...drumroll...I clearly need to start a new playlist for the Handel works mentioned in this topic.
(I'm still trying to decide where to put my playlists now I no longer have Primephonic - Idagio or Spotify. I'm not a fan of Apple Music for classical, even though I have a subscription bundled with other Apple products. And I can't afford to add a Qobuz subscription.)
Ok, I know we're discussing "lesser-known" Handel here, and I know that @capriccio said his Oratorios tend to overshadow his other equally magnificent works, yet ....
I have to post this recording of Handel's oratorio arias here, it's a delight to listen to.
(Those of you who are ex-Primephonic-ers would remember me wax poetic about the countertenor voice, especially that of the English countertenor Iestyn Davies! And by way of explaining to our new friends: my favourite musical instrument par excellence is the human voice, especially the countertenor voice! Simply sublime, in my humble opinion).
Now that many of you most probably do have access to Apple Music, you could listen to the wonderful album there, as it is pretty much the only streaming platform that catalogues it!
@jen and @capriccio, it has beautiful excerpts from The Triumph of Time and Truth 😊