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George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

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Handel: 20 Sonatas ‘Opus 1’

Handel: 20 Sonatas ‘Opus 1’


Handel:

Sonata in D major for violin and continuo, HWV371, Op. 1 No. 13

Sonata in G minor for recorder and continuo, HWV360, Op. 1 No. 2

Sonata in B flat major for oboe and continuo, HWV357

Sonata in F major for recorder and continuo, HWV369, Op. 1 No. 11

Sonata in D Minor for violin and continuo, HWV359a, Op. 1 No. 1

Flute Sonatas HWV 374-376 'Halle' Nos. 1, 2 & 3

Sonata in D minor for recorder and continuo, HWV367a, Op. 1 No. 9a 'Fitzwilliam III'

Sonata in G major for violin and continuo, HWV358

Sonata in E minor for flute and continuo, HWV379, Op. 1 No. 1a

Sonata in A minor for recorder and continuo, HWV362, Op. 1 No. 4

Sonata in C minor for oboe and continuo, HWV366, Op. 1 No. 8

Sonata in B flat major for recorder and continuo, HWV377 'Fitzwilliam I'

Sonata in G major for flute and continuo, HWV363b, Op 1 No 5

Sonata in A Major for violin and continuo, HWV361, Op. 1 No. 3

Sonata in E minor for flute and continuo, HWV359b, Op. 1 No. 1b

Sonata in C major for recorder and continuo, HWV365, Op. 1 No. 7

Sonata in G minor for violin or oboe and continuo, HWV364a, Op. 1 No. 6

Flute Sonata in B minor, Op 1 No 9b, HWV367b


Rachel Beckett (recorder), Lisa Beznosiuk (flute), Paul Goodwin (oboe), Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin), Richard Tunnicliffe (cello), Paul Nicholson (harpsichord)

The twenty sonatas on this recording show Handel writing for the professional musicians of his London opera orchestra; they demand considerable skill and stamina both from the soloist and the continuo. Prominent bass parts give the sonatas a contrapuntal strength and vitality, and Handel keeps the elements of display and purely musical argument in admirable balance in these works. For this reason, they are among the most attractive Baroque solo sonatas and deserve their lasting popularity.

“Here is all the ‘Op 1’ you could ever want, in performances which, in the present state of the art, I cannot see beaten” BBC Music Magazine

“The performances in this attractive set are further distinguished by an interpretive sponaneity that invariably brings the music to life” BBC Music Magazine

“This set gives authoritative readings, impeccable in style, dependable in text” Gramophone Magazine

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Handel: Acis and Galatea

Handel: Acis and Galatea


Handel:

Acis and Galatea

Claron McFadden (Galatea), John Mark Ainsley (Acis), Rogers Covey-Crump (Damon), Michael George (Polyphemus)

Look Down, Harmonious Saint, HWV 124

Robert Harre-Jones (alto)


“A steady and lovely account, with Ainsley on top form.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2009

“An unfailingly delightful work, beautifully performed and recorded” Gramophone Magazine

Building a Library

Second Choice - March 2000

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Handel: Alexander Balus

Handel: Alexander Balus


Lynne Dawson (soprano), Michael George (bass), Catherine Denley (contralto), Charles Daniels (tenor), Claron McFadden (soprano)

The King's Consort, Choir of The King's Consort, New College Choir, Oxford, Robert King

“Alexander Balus has never been one of Handel's more popular oratorios. That's mainly because its plot is by modern standards lacking in drama and motivation, and accordingly doesn't call forth the vein of his music that nowadays has the strongest appeal. It's essentially a sentimental drama, in which the interest centres on the characters' emotional reactions to their situations, amatory, political and religious, and these are rather static in the first two acts but much more powerful in the more eventful third with the deaths of both Alexander and Ptolomee.
Here we have a very capable, idiomatic, sensibly cast performance under Robert King. The choruses are especially accomplished. The New College Choir, supported by men from The King's Consort Choir, is confident, brighttoned and vigorous, clean in line and well balanced.
Lynne Dawson sings beautifully in her firm and resonant soprano and her usual poised and unaffected style. Her singing of the lamenting music in the final act is particularly moving.
Cleopatra has a couple of duets, one with some attractive interplay with the secondary character Aspasia, sung with much assurance by Claron McFadden. As Alexander, Catherine Denley sings with much confidence and directness in music that isn't all of special individuality.
Jonathan is sung fluentlyand warmly, but very plainly, by Charles Daniels. Lastly there's Michael George, who's ideally suited to the villainous Ptolomee, with his forceful (but always musical) manner and the touch of blackness in his tone. The orchestral playing is accomplished, and often rather carefully shaped. The recitative moves at a steady but natural pace; ornamentation is generally modest. All Handelians will want to acquire this set, and others should not be put off by the indifferent press Alexander Balus has received from time to time.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“We may be grateful that yet another glory has been restored by Robert King and his accomplished forces” The Times

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Handel: Aminta e Fillide (Arresta il passo) HWV 83

Handel: Aminta e Fillide (Arresta il passo) HWV 83

Cantata for two voices and strings


Gillian Fisher (soprano), Patrizia Kwella (soprano)

The London Handel Orchestra, Denys Darlow

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Handel: Arias

Handel: Arias


Handel:

Quando mai (from Radamisto)

Mi lusinga il dolce affetto (from Alcina)

Verdi prati (from Alcina)

Sta nell'Ircana pietrosa tana (from Alcina)

Hercules: There in myrtle shades

Hercules: Cease, ruler of the day, to rise

Hercules: Where shall I fly?

Cara speme (from Giulio Cesare)

Con l'ali di costanza (from Ariodante)

Scherza, infida (from Ariodante)

Dopo notte (from Ariodante)


Hyperion is delighted to present a tour de force from the supreme mezzo-soprano of today, Alice Coote, accompanied by The English Concert and Harry Bicket, making their Hyperion debut. Coote performs a selection of Handel’s greatest arias from opera and oratorio, employing an extraordinary range of vocal and dramatic colour, tone and emotion to produce triumphant and moving interpretations of these masterpieces.

Every piece is a highlight. Handel’s Italian operas are represented by his first two Covent Garden operas, Alcina and the great tragedy Ariodante, and also Radamisto and Giulio Cesare in Egitto (perhaps Handel’s most popular opera today). Handel’s English oratorio Hercules contains music of utter beauty. Written to a libretto by Thomas Broughton based on Sophocles’ Trachiniae, it is a drama of sombre magnificence. At its centre is the tragic figure of Hercules’ wife Dejanira, a role to rival Saul as a study in the corrosive power of jealousy. Little is known about the ‘Miss Robinson’ who created the part. But the music that Handel wrote for her suggests that she must have been a fine singing actress. Alice Coote’s powers in this direction are unrivalled today.

“The bronze-coloured mezzo of Alice Coote is well-suited to the virtuosity and drama in some of Handel’s greatest operas” Financial Times, 6th September 2014

“The wealth of virtues in Coote's recital include her intuitive sense of apposite, well-proportioned ornamentation and a sure feeling for just tempo...Occasionally I found her vibrato and vocal portamentos a little intrusive. But expressive singing with eloquent instrumental partnership make for a rewarding encounter.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2014 ****

“Coote and The English Concert remind us in no uncertain terms that these characters and scenes rank among Handel's supreme achievements as a dramatist...'Scherza infida' is sung with a breathtaking sincerity that puts Coote's interpretation right up there with Janet Baker and Lorraine Hunt for its emotional intelligence.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014

“How spoiled we are for great mezzos, and Coote is one of the most treasurable. There is some perfect singing on this disc – and the rest isn’t bad too...There is no showy emoting: everything here...is done with art rather than histrionics.” Opera Now ****

“Coote is certainly no wallower; the crisp, directional, exuberant yet controlled coloratura fireworks of Stà nell’Ircana belie the sheer vocal heft she possesses, and the deft and fleet-footed playing of the English Concert never feels overbalanced. In fact, the sheer size of voice is thrilling, and it’s very good to hear an increasingly rare full-blooded interpretation of these operatic works.” Early Music Today

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

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Handel - Chandos Anthems Nos. 7, 9 & 11

Handel - Chandos Anthems Nos. 7, 9 & 11


Handel:

Chandos Anthem No. 9 ' O praise the Lord with one consent', HWV 254

Chandos Anthem No. 11 'Let God arise', HWV 256a

Chandos Anthem No. 7 'My song shall be always', HWV 252


In a year of Handel celebration and many new recordings, this is a welcome addition to the discography. Stephen Layton, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a stellar group of soloists—in fact, the best in solo Handel singing that this country has to offer—present a disc of three of the Chandos anthems which is sure to achieve the same critical and public acclaim as the recent Dettingen Te Deum from Trinity.

Here we have the composer at his most English and most gently appealing. Written for the musical establishment of the first Duke of Chandos, these anthems set texts taken from the Psalms, mainly the old version of the Psalter as preserved in the Book of Common Prayer, but also the metrical versions of Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, first published in 1696. The anthems have no direct models in English church music, but follow the form used by Handel for his Latin psalm settings, with a mixture of movements for solo voices and choruses. The expressive range of the solos is remarkable, and in the choruses Handel seizes every opportunity to create grand effects with modest means.

“Layton never over-inflates the music but rather invigorates it through carefully detonated points of detail: the explosive choral entry which cuts the polite bluster introducing 'Let God Arise' is a good example.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2009 ****

“…the 40 members of the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, sing with flexibility and lightness. The opening chorus of O praise the Lord with one consent is crisply articulate and lightly shaped, and consonants are attacked with voracity. The four illustrious soloists excel in numerous short movements. It is enjoyable to hear some of Handel's lesser-known and more intimate English church music performed with such elegant restraint and skill.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2009

“The choir sings with their usual purity of tone and clear diction while the Academy of Ancient Music plays with convincing vigour in the sprightly double-dotted passages.” The Observer, 17th May 2009

“The choir’s firm tone and tightly disciplined singing, coupled with the Academy’s polished ensemble and phrasing, are a considerable improvement on The Sixteen and O’Reilly’s sometimes raw and slightly untidy performances” International Record Review

“Here are three of the 11 so-called ChandosAnthems composed for James Brydges, the Earl of Carnarvon (from 1719 the First Duke of Chandos). Handel's music was tailor-made for fewer performers than those featured here. Nevertheless, the 40 members of the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, sing with flexibility and lightness. The opening chorus of O praise theLord with one consent is crisply articulate and lightly shaped, and consonants are attacked with voracity. Most of the choral contributions have sweetness and delicacy. Stephen Layton lets the performers off the leash a little in the final pealing 'Alleluia' sections of each anthem, and in some dynamic passages of Let God arise, based on Dixit Dominus. The Academy of Ancient Music's playing is often understated, and the introductory sonatas of Let God arise and My song shall bealway feature convivial oboe solos played by Katharina Spreckelsen. The four illustrious soloists excel in numerous short movements.
Iestyn Davies navigates some difficult low passages in 'Praise him, all ye that in his house' (HWV254) without traces of strain. Neal Davies is authoritative, James Gilchrist is on fine dramatic form in 'Like as the smoke vanisheth' (HWV256a), and Emma Kirkby shows her stylistic intelligence and masterful communication of text in the radiant opening of HWV252. It is enjoyable to hear some of Handel's lesserknown and more intimate English church music performed with such elegant restraint and skill.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The ten undergraduate sopranos here sing with charm, clarity and a bright tone that never strays into faux-treble territory, and their flexibility in this often very florid music is impressive...Vocal soloists are uniformly splendid. Thomas Hobbs has the lion’s share of the solo duties, and rises to the challenge with consistently beautiful tone and easy agility.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 8th July 2013

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Handel: Chandos Anthems Nos 5a, 6a & 8

Handel: Chandos Anthems Nos 5a, 6a & 8


Handel:

Chandos Anthem No. 8 'O come let us sing unto the Lord', HWV 253

Chandos Anthem No. 6 'As pants the hart of cooling streams', HWV 251b

Chandos Anthem No. 5 'I will magnify Thee', HWV 250a


Handel’s beautiful, intimate settings of liturgical texts written for the First Duke of Chandos are among his less well-known choral works—and are proved by this second volume from Trinity also to be among his loveliest. They are a perfect example of the composer’s English style heard in Acis & Galatea and oratorios such as Judas Maccabaeus.

The soloists on this recording include internationally acclaimed Handelians Susan Gritton and Iestyn Davies, and the young tenor Thomas Hobbs, whose warm, lyrical tone is perfect for this repertoire. Trinity College Choir Cambridge sing with their usual youthful exuberance tempered with elegance, style and precision, under the expert guidance of Stephen Layton.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Layton directs his young singers with such a perfect control of texture and rhythm that there's no hint of stodginess” Gramophone Magazine, July 2013

“Layton has drilled his singers to perfection in this trio of Handel's Chandos Anthems, making every word distinct and every crisp consonant a taut springboard on which to propel Handel's irresistible rhythm...Thomas Hobbs is the stand-out soloist” The Observer, 8th July 2013

“It says much for Layton's skill that he has managed to retain their companionable intimacy despite super-sizing his own resources to a choir of more than 30 singers with orchestra to match...Layton is a peerless Handelian, master of the architecture, yet constantly alert to enlivening nuances that only seem obvious with hindsight.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

8th July 2013

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Handel: Complete Flute Sonatas

Handel: Complete Flute Sonatas


Lisa Beznosiuk (flute), Richard Tunnicliffe (cello), Paul Nicholson (harpsichord)

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Handel: Concerto Grossi

Handel: Concerto Grossi


Handel:

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 1 in B flat major, HWV312

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 2 in B flat major, HWV313

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 3 in G major, HWV314

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 4a in F Major, HWV315

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 4b in F major

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 5 in D minor, HWV316

Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 6 in D major, HWV317

Organ Concerto Movement In D Minor, HWV317/ii


“The music is endlessly inventive and gives the listener enormous stimulation and pleasure...Turovsky paces convincingly, not missing Handel's breadth of sonority and moments of expressive grandeur, and the Chandos recording is excellent.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Handel: Deborah

Handel: Deborah


Yvonne Kenny (soprano), Susan Gritton (soprano), Catherine Denley (mezzo soprano), James Bowman (countertenor), Michael George (bass)

The King's Consort, New College Choir, Oxford , Choristers Of Salisbury Cathedral, Robert King

“Superb ... The recording is another of these inspired ventures by Hyperion into music we ought to know better” CD Review

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