Sophie Bevan (soprano), Ed Lyon (tenor), William Berger (bass), Jan Waterfield (harpsichord), Nicholas Wearne (organ continuo)
Ludus Baroque, Richard Neville-Towle
CD - 2 discs
Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.
Handel's musical illustration of Dryden's Alexander's Feast, first performed in 1736, was a critical and popular success. A day after the première, the London Daily Post reported 'Never was upon the like Occasion so numerous and splendid an Audience at any Theatre in London, there being at least 1300 Persons present'.
Twice a year some of the UK's finest baroque players and young vocal soloists come together in Edinburgh's Canongate Kirk to give sell-out concerts of the great works of Bach and Handel. The chorus, handpicked by Will Dawes, comprises a sensational selection of singers from Britain’s finest early music consorts, including the Monteverdi Choir, the Sixteen, Polyphony and the Gabrieli and King’s Consorts.
Ludus Baroque's appearances are unmissable events in Edinburgh's calendar. Now for the first time listeners from further afield can experience the vibrancy of their Festival-fuelled performances in this their debut recording. Alexander's Feast is the perfect showpiece for the vitality and abandon of Ludus Baroque and their rising-star soloists.
27th February 2011
“Richard Neville-Towle gathers some of Britain's best new talents on this recording – Sophie Bevan, Ed Lyon and William Berger are on dazzling form and there is some superb singing from the chorus. "The many rend the skies with loud applause," they sing. And so they should.”
The Independent on Sunday
“The warm, shapely choral singing is in stark contrast to the the Dunedin Consort's ascetic precision...Berger [is] particularly impressive in the B-section of "Revenge, Timotheus cries". Jan Waterfield's harpsichord concerto sets the tone for an exalted yet humane celebration.”
“Energy and vigour are among the common properties radiated by the period instrument players and professional choristers of Richard Neville-Towle's Ludus Baroque...This exuberant performance, intensely focused in its second part, moves and inspires.”
5th March 2011
“Vivacious youth leaps from this lively CD debut by Richard Neville-Towle’s group...The tenor Ed Lyons’s diction cuts through the resonant church acoustic: every word dances before us. The soprano Sophie Bevan needs a lighter touch, and the chorus greater clarity. But minor flaws fade before the sound of musicians bouncing with joy.”
“Sophie Bevan's shining soprano is always a pleasure to hear: the vocal equivalent of a fresh, bright spring morning...Capable of encompassing long-breathed phrases, [Lyon] has a bit of 'beef' in the voice, which serves him well in the more outgoing arias...the 18 voices produce a fine sound, as does the orchestra, well directed by Neville-Towle, who directs a spirited performance.”
The Arts Desk
9th April 2011
“Orchestral details emerge with pristine clarity – the juddering lower strings as the tenor sings of beating drums in The Praise of Bacchus, or the braying natural horns in the chorus which follows. The libretto is barely necessary, so good is the diction of chorus and soloists...Music is described in the closing chorus as "the greatest blessing". Listen to these discs and dare to disagree.”
17th April 2011
“This is a scintillating first commercial recording. The young soloists, Sophie Bevan, Ed Lyon and William Berger, are all first-rate.”
Johan van Veen
11th April 2011
“I particularly enjoyed the choruses which show the choir at its full strength. The delivery is excellent, and the treatment of dynamics impressive... lovers of Handel's music shouldn't miss this recording. It has many fine qualities; I have mentioned the choir, but the orchestra is of the same high level...The recording is outstanding: it is crisp and clear, and has great presence.”
5th May 2011
“Neville-Towle keeps the tone worldly, sensuous and exultant until near the end, when there's a vague but telling sense of sadness, as well as calm when contemplation gradually replaces action. The playing is sharply focused, the choral singing tremendous in its elan and warmth....[William Berger] steals the show with his terrific performance of Revenge Timotheus Cries”
“Richard Neville-Towle gets beautifully crisp playing from his orchestra: the jolly numbers bounce along nicely but the sombre passages are given their due weight...The chorus sounds young, fresh and enthusiastic.”
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