Handel: Alexander’s Feast & Ode for St Cecilia's Day

Naxos: 8572224

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Handel: Alexander’s Feast & Ode for St Cecilia's Day



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Release date:

1st Feb 2010




79 minutes


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Handel: Alexander’s Feast & Ode for St Cecilia's Day


Alexander's Feast

or The Power of Musick

Gerlinde Sämann (soprano), Knut Schoch (tenor) & Klaus Mertens (bass)

Junge Kantorei & Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra, Joachim Carlos Martini



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First performed in London in 1736 to an admiring audience of 1,300 people, and enjoying considerable success thereafter, Handel’s setting of John Dryden’s 1697 poem Alexander’s Feast evokes the power of music to stir the soul to acts of love and war, revenge and revels.

This splendid oratorio, set at Alexander the Great’s victory celebrations for his conquest of Persia, culminates in an apotheosis to ‘divine Cecilia’, the patron saint of music whom Handel also praises in his Ode for St Cecilia’s Day of 1739 (Naxos 8554752).

George Frideric Handel: Alexander's Feast, HWV 75

Part 1: Overture

Part 1: Recitative: 'Twas at the royal feast (Tenor)

Part I: Air: Happy, happy, happy pair (Tenor, Chorus)

Part I: Recitative: Timotheus, plac'd on high (Tenor)

Part 1: Accompagnato: The song began from Jove (Soprano)

Part 1: The list'ning Crowd (Chorus)

Part 1: Air: With ravish'd ears (Soprano)

Part 1: Recitative: The praise of Bacchus (Tenor)

Part 1: Air and Chorus: Bacchus, ever fair and young (Bass and Chorus)

Part 1: Recitative: Sooth'd with the sound (Tenor)

Part 1: Accompagnato: He chose a mournful muse (Soprano)

Part 1: Air: He sung Darius great and good (Soprano)

Part 1: Accompagnato: With downcast looks (Soprano)

Part 1: Behold Darius great and good (Chorus)

Part 1: Recitative: The mighty master smil'd to see (Tenor)

Part 1: Air: Softly sweet (Soprano)

Part 1: Air: War, he sung, is toil and trouble (Soprano)

Part 1: The many rend the skies (Chorus)

Part 1: Air: The Prince, unable to conceal his pain (Soprano)

Part 1: The many rend the skies (Chorus)

Part 2: Accompagnato and Chorus: Now strike the golden lyre (Tenor and Chorus)

Part 2: Air: Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries (Bass)

Part 2: Accompagnato: Give the vengeance due (Tenor)

Part 2: Air: The princes applaud with a furious joy (Tenor)

Part 2: Air and Chorus: Thais led the way (Soprano and Chorus)

Part 2: Accompagnato and Chorus: Thus, long ago (Tenor)

Part 2: Recitative: Let old Timotheus yield the prize (Tenor and Bass)

Part 2: Let old Timotheus yield the prize (Chorus)

The Guardian

11th March 2010

“The performance is characterised by an austerity of tone that speaks volumes in the closing sections, when worldliness gives way to spirituality...The playing is spare, stylish and beautiful. Listen out, meanwhile, for silver-toned soprano Gerlinde Sämann, new to me, but a real find on this showing.”

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