Handel: Jephtha


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Handel: Jephtha



Catalogue No:




Release date:

28th March 2011




2 hours 38 minutes


CD (download also available)
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Handel: Jephtha

James Gilchrist (Jephtha), Mona Julsrud (Iphis), Elisabeth Jansson (Storge), Håvard Stensvold (Zebul), Marianne B. Kielland (Hamor), Elisabeth Rapp (Angel)

Collegium Vocale Gent & Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Fabio Biondi

CD - 2 discs


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This recording was taking from a live performance at the Stavanger Concert Hall in 2008 and boasts a roster of soloists headed by the fine British tenor James Gilchrist as Jephtha.

The eminent Belgian choir Collegium Vocale Gent, is accompanied by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and at the helm of these large forces is Fabio Biondi, the Baroque violinist and conductor who since 2005 has been artistic director of the Stavanger orchestra in the baroque and classical repertoires.

Jephtha was Handel's last oratorio, and indeed his last major work due to the deterioration of his eyesight. It is nevertheless no less a masterpiece than his earlier works, and contains some of his noblest music.

The plot of this ‘Sacred Drama’ is loosely based on the story of Jephtha in the Old Testament: a father who in order to win the the Israelites’ struggle against the Ammonites makes a rash promise to God, and after his victory is compelled to sacrifice his own daughter.

“...He (James Gilchrist) is now unsurpassed among lyric tenors in sweetness and technical security, and for his musical intelligence.” The Independent

George Frideric Handel: Jephtha, HWV 70



Act I Scene 1: Accompagnato: It must be so, or these vile Ammonites (Zebul)

Act I Scene 1: Air: Pour forth no more unheeded prayr's (Zebul)

Act I Scene 1: No more to Ammon's god and king (Chorus)

Act I Scene 2: Recitative: But Jephtha comes (Zebul, Jephtha)

Act I Scene 2: Air: Virtue my soul shall still embrace (Jephtha)

Act I Scene 2: Recitative: Twill be a painful separation, Jephtha (Storge)

Act I Scene 2: Air: In gentle murmurs will I mourn (Storge)

Act I Scene 3: Recitative: Happy this embassy, my charming Iphis (Hamor)

Act I Scene 3: Air: Dull delay, in piercing anguish (Hamor)

Act I Scene 3: Recitative: Ill suits the voice of love (Iphis)

Act I Scene 3: Air: Take the heart you fondly gave (Iphis)

Act I Scene 3: Recitative: I go, my soul, inspir'd by thy command (Hamor)

Act I Scene 3: Duet: These labours past, how happy we (Iphis, Hamor)

Act I Scene 4: Recitative: What mean these doubtful fancies of the brain? (Jephtha)

Act I Scene 4: O God, behold our sore distress (Chorus)

Act I Scene 5: Recitative: Some dire event hangs o'er our heads (Storge)

Act I Scene 5: Air: Scenes of horror, scenes of woe (Storge)

Act I Scene 6: Recitative: Say, my dear mother, whence these piercing cries (Iphis, Storge)

Act I Scene 6: Air: The smiling dawn of happy days (Iphis)

Act I Scene 7: Recitative: Such, Jephtha, was the haughty king's reply (Zebul, Jephtha)

Act I Scene 7: When his loud voice in thunder spoke (Chorus)

Act II Scene 1: Recitative: Glad tidings of great joy to thee, dear Iphis (Hamor)

Act II Scene 1: Cherub and Seraphim, unbodied forms (Chorus)

Act II Scene 1: Air: Up the dreadful steep ascending (Hamor)

Act II Scene 1: Recitative: Tis well. Haste, haste, ye maidens (Iphis)

Act II Scene 1: Air: Tune the soft melodious lute (Iphis)

Act II Scene 2: Recitative: Heav'n smiles once more on his repentant people (Jephtha)

Act II Scene 2: Air: His mighty arm, with sudden blow (Jephtha)

Act II Scene 2: In glory high, in might serene (Chorus)

Act II Scene 3: Symphony

Act II Scene 3: Hail, glorious conqueror! (Iphis)

Act II Scene 3: Air and Chorus: Welcome, as the cheerful light … Welcome thou, whose deeds conspire (Iphis, Chorus)

Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Horror! Confusion! (Jephtha)

Act II Scene 3: Air: Open thy marble jaws, O tomb (Jephtha)

Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Why is my brother thus afflicted? (Zebul, Jephtha)

Act II Scene 3: Accompagnato and Arioso: First perish thou, and perish all the world! - Let other creatures (Storge)

Act II Scene 3: Recitative: If such thy cruel purpose, lo, your friend (Hamor)

Act II Scene 3: Air: On me let blind mistaken zeal (Hamor)

Act II Scene 3: Quartet: O spare your daughter! (Storge, Hamor, Jephtha, Zebul)

Act II Scene 4: Recitative: Such news flies swift (Iphis)

Act II Scene 4: Air: Happy they! (Iphis)

Act II Scene 4: Accompagnato: Deeper and deeper still, thy goodness, child (Jephtha)

Act II Scene 4: How dark, O Lord, are thy decrees! (Chorus)

Act III Scene 1: Arioso: Hide thou thy hated beams (Jephtha)

Act III Scene 1: Air: Waft her, angels, through the skies (Jephtha)

Act III Scene 1: Accompagnato: Ye sacred priests, whose hands ne’er yet were stain'd (Iphis)

Act III Scene 1: Air: Farewell, ye limpid springs and floods (Iphis)

Act III Scene 1: Doubtful fear and reverend awe (Chorus)

Act III Scene 1: Symphony

Act III Scene 1: Recitative: Rise, Jephtha, and ye rev’rend priests, withhold (Angel)

Act III Scene 1: Air: Happy, Iphis, shalt thou live (Angel)

Act III Scene 1: Arioso: For ever blessed be Thy holy name (Jephtha)

Act III Scene 1: Theme sublime of endless praise (Chorus)

Act III Scene 2: Recitative: Let me congratulate, this happy turn (Zebul)

Act III Scene 2: Air: Laud her, all ye virgin train (Zebul)

Act III Scene 2: Recitative: O let me fold thee in a mother's arms (Storge)

Act III Scene 2: Air: Sweet as sight to the blind (Storge)

Act III Scene 2: Recitative: With transport, Iphis, I behold thy safety (Hamor)

Act III Scene 2: Recitative: With transport… - Aria: 'Tis Heaven's all ruling power… (Hamor)

Act III Scene 2: Recitative: My faithful Hamor, may that Providence (Iphis)

Act III Scene 2: Quintet: All that is in Hamor mine (Iphis, Hamor, Storge, Jephtha, Zebul)

Act III Scene 2: Ye house of Gilead, with one voice (Chorus)


BBC Music Magazine

June 2011


“The expressive singing of Collegium Vocale Gent is one of the most attractive elements in Fabio Biondi's live recording of Jephtha. The choir sound more freethan they do under their founder, Philippe Herreweghe...Biondi is a meticulous orchestral trainer. Stavanger Symphony Orchestra adapts well to the stylistic demands of this work”

Classic FM Magazine

June 2011


“James Gilchrist's Jephtha shows tangible horror at his backfired vow...Mona Julsrud is believable as the butter-wouldn't-melt daughter...Biondi whips the Gent chorus into fruity Israelites”

Gramophone Magazine

July 2011

“The Stavanger Symphony Orchestra plays modern instruments in an authoritative baroque style; the crisp overture is neatly detailed...Gilchrist's rapid passagework and florid cadenza in "His mighty arm" are marvellous. The Norwegians Marianne B Kielland and Mona Julsrud are on vibrant form in the love duet "These labours past"”

International Record Review

May 2011

“Biondi is always a dramatically alert Handelian...I can't fault Gilchrist's beautiful singing of 'Waft her, angels'...It's the crowning moment of a very fine performance. Norwegian soprano Mona Julsrud's bright bell-like tone is perfect for Iphis's 'The smiling dawn of happy days' and 'Tune the soft melodious flute' and there is genuine poignancy as she faces the sacrificial knife.”

The Telegraph

14th April 2011


“this spirited live performance is to be welcomed. James Gilchrist makes a stylish Jephtha, adequately supported by Scandinavian soloists. But the best singing comes from the Collegium Vocale Gent, which is stunning in the magnificent choruses.”

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