Handel: Susanna, HWV66

Accent: ACC26406

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Handel: Susanna, HWV66

Label:

Accent

Catalogue No:

ACC26406

Discs:

3

Release date:

23rd Sept 2016

Barcode:

4015023264069

Length:

3 hours 3 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)

Early Music

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Handel: Susanna, HWV66


Emily Fons (Susanna), Christopher Lowrey (Joacim), Colin Balzer (1st Elder), Raimund Nolte (2nd Elder) & Ciara Hendrick (Daniel)

Göttingen Festival Orchestra & NDR Choir, Laurence Cummings

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After the patriotic ‘victory oratorios’, the oratorio 'Susanna' marks a turning point in Handel’s composition. This Old Testament narrative is a popular motif in the domain of art history. Many a portrayal exists of the steadfast Susanna being watched – unbeknown to her – by two lusting elders as she bathes. Likewise, the scene of the supposed adulteress appearing before the judges who sentence her to death inspired painters such as Rembrandt, Giorgione, Gentileschi and Corinth. In adopting this as his subject, Handel chose a heroine who is neither a queen nor a prophet.

The piquant account from the Book of Daniel drew from him magnificent inventiveness in the music, which also includes passages in the lighter vein characteristic of the English ‘ballad opera’ popular at the time. Susanna’s virtue, however, is extolled in monumental choruses.

The present live recording is a production of the 2016 International Handel Festival in Göttingen, highly praised by the critics at their performances in Göttingen, Berlin, and Wroclaw. Laurence Cummings, the Festival's Artistic Director, a renowned Händel specialist, stands at the helm of the Göttingen Festival Orchestra, aided by an excellent vocal cast and the NDR Choir.

George Frideric Handel: Susanna, HWV 66

Overture

Susanna, HWV 66, Pt. 1

Part I: How long, Oh Lord, shall Israel groan? (Chorus)

Part I: Our Crimes Repeated (Joacim)

Part I: Clouds o'ertake the brightest day (Joacim)

Part I: Oh Joacim, When Thou Art By (Susanna)

Part I: When thou art nigh (Susanna, Joacim)

Part I: Live There in Babylon (Chelsias)

Part I: Who fears the Lord may dare all foes (Chelsias)

Part I: A Flame Like Mine (Joacim)

Part I: When first I saw my lovely maid (Joacim)

Part I: Let Me Confess (Susanna)

Part I: Would custom bid (Susanna)

Part I: Down My Old Cheeks (Chelsias)

Part I: Peace crown'd with roses (Chelsias)

Part I: O Pious Chelsias (Susanna)

Part I: Without the swain's assiduous care (Susanna)

Part I: Source of Each Joy (Joacim, Susanna)

Part I: The parent bird in search of food (Joacim)

Part I: On Joacim may every joy attend (Susanna)

Part I: What Means This Weight (Susanna)

Part I: Bending to the throne of glory (Susanna)

Part I: Virtue Shall Never Longer Be Oppress'd (Chorus)

Part I: Tyrannic love (First Elder)

Part I: Ye verdant hills, ye balmy vales (First Elder)

Part I: Say, is it fit that age? (First Elder, Second Elder)

Part I: The oak that for a thousand years (Second Elder)

Part I: Ye Winged Gales, Convey (First Elder, Second Elder)

Part I: When the trumpet sounds to arms (First Elder)

Part I: Righteous heav'n beholds their guile (Chorus)

Susanna, HWV 66, Pt. 2

Part II: Frost nips the flowers (Joacim)

Part II: On fair Euphates' verdant side (Joacim)

Part II: Lead me to some cool retreat (Susanna)

Part II: Crystal streams in murmurs flowing (Susanna)

Part II: Too Lovely Youth (Susanna, Attendant)

Part II: Ask if yon damask rose (Attendant)

Part II: In Vain You Try to Cure (Susanna, Attendant)

Part II: Beneath the cypress' gloomy shade (Attendant)

Part II: Thy Plaintive Strains (Susanna, Attendant)

Part II: Blooming as the face of spring (First Elder)

Part II: We Long Have Languish'd (Second Elder, Susanna)

Part II: The torrent that sweeps in its course (Second Elder)

Part II: Deceitful Wolves (Susanna, Second Elder)

Part II: Away, Away! (Susanna, Frist Elder, Second Elder)

Part II: Alas! I Find the Fatal Toils Are Set (Susanna, First Elder, Second Elder)

Part II: If guiltless blood be your intent (Susanna)

Part II: Let justice reign (Chorus)

Part II: Is fair Susanna false? (Joacim)

Part II: On the rapid whirlwind's wing (Joacim)

Part II: Oh Joacim, thy wedded truth! (Chorus)

Susanna, HWV 66, Pt. 3

Part III: The cause is decided (Chorus)

Part III: I Hear My Doom (Susanna)

Part III: Faith displays her rosy wing (Susanna)

Part III: Permit Me, Fair (First Elder)

Part III: Round thy urn my tears shall flow (First Elder)

Part III: 'Tis Thus the Crocodile (Susanna)

Part III: But You, Who See Me on the Verge of Life (Susanna)

Part III: The Sentence Now Is Past (Second Elder, First Elder, Daniel)

Part III: 'Tis not age's sullen face (Daniel)

Part III: Oh Wond'rous Youth (Judge, Daniel)

Part III: Impartial heav'n! (Chorus)

Part III: Thou Artful Wretch (Daniel, First Elder, Second Elder)

Part III: Chastity, thou cherub bright (Daniel)

Part III: But See! My Lord, My Joacim Appears (Susanna)

Part III: Gold within the furnace try'd (Joacim)

Part III: The Joyful News of Chaste Susanna's Truth (Chelsias)

Part III: Raise your voice to sounds of joy (Chelsias)

Part III: Bless'd be the day that gave Susanna birth! (Chorus)

Part III: Hence Ev'ry Pang (Susanna)

Part III: Guilt trembling spoke my doom (Susanna)

Part III: Sweet Are the Accents (Joacim)

Part III: To my chaste Susanna's praise (Joacim, Susanna)

Part III: A virtuous wife shall soften Fortune's frown (Chorus)

Gramophone Magazine

January 2017

“[This recording] is conducted sagely by Laurence Cummings, whose direction is alert to the broad range of dramatic atmospheres, situations, characterisations and musical styles in the oratorio. Each strand in the ominous Overture is delineated transparently by the Göttingen Festival Orchestra/ The NDR Choir are for the most part adroitly disciplined…this is a valuable new perspective on Handel’s late masterpiece”

The Guardian

30th October 2016

****

“Cummings’s new version with Göttingen festival forces captures fully the uplifting, pastoral, ethereal vision in arias such as Susanna’s “Crystal streams in murmurs flowing”, and his cast, while not all perfect in English, are responsive, with Ciara Hendrick outstanding. Beautiful.”

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