Handel: Saul

This page lists all recordings of Saul, by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) on CD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

Recommendations

First Choice
October 2004
Disc of the Month
October 2012

All recordings

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Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


“Rolfe Johnson is outstanding...in this powerfully dramatic account” BBC Music Magazine, April 2010 ****

Warner Classics Das Alte Werk - 2564686983

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


Nancy Argenta (soprano), Michael Chance (counter-tenor), Laurie Reviol (soprano), Stephen Varcoe (bass), Mark Le Brocq (tenor), Michael Berner (tenor), Steffen Balbach (bass)

Hanoverian Court Orchestra, Maulbronn Chamber Choir, Jurgen Budday

K&K - KuK83

(CD - 2 discs)

$31.50

(also available to download from $20.00)

This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched. (Available now to download.)

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


“Notwithstanding a few weaknesses, Rilling convincingly sustains the drama with mainly well-judged tempos, an appropriate sense of pacing, and strong support from chorus and instrumentalists.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2007 ***

Hänssler - HAEN98280

(CD - 2 discs)

$34.50

(also available to download from $20.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


Teldec - 4509975042

(CD - 2 discs)

$23.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


Ditte Andersen, Anna Prohaska, Maximilian Schmitt & Tim Mead

Dresdner Kammerchor & Dresdner Barockorchester, Hans-Christoph Rademann

Saul is among Handel’s most dramatic oratorios. As in almost no other Handel oratorio, the exciting drama of this work shows how close it was to the opera of that time. Through the use of harp and glockenspiel in the orchestra he impressively portrays the history of Saul and David with the sounds of ancient Israel.

Carus - Music from Dresden - CARUS83243

(CD - 3 discs)

$44.75

(also available to download from $30.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


Alistair Miles, Derek Lee Ragin, John Mark Ainsley, Donna Brown & Lynne Dawson

Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloist, John Eliot Gardiner

'...it is not likely to be surpassed on disc for a long time' The Penguin Guide to Opera on Compact Disc

“These CDs of Handel's exotically-scored study in implacable jealousy capture a live performance energised by Gardiner's high precision dramatic acuity. The casting is mostly distinguished, though Derek Lee Ragin's David sounds semi-engaged.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2007 ****

Philips - Originals - 4758256

(CD - 3 discs)

$35.25

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


Christopher Purves (Saul), Sarah Connolly (David), Robert Murray (Jonathan), Elizabeth Atherton (Merab), Joélle Harvey (Michal), Mark Dobell (High Priest), Jeremy Budd (Witch of Endor) & Stuart Young (Ghost of Samuel)

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Renowned for their Handel interpretations, Harry Christophers and his award winning choir, The Sixteen, add to their glittering catalogue of Handel discs with this new recording of Saul.

In his biblical oratorio, Saul, Handel wrote an epic work of great and noble drama and of thrilling musical inventiveness. Saul represents Handel’s first proper foray into oratorio and it is a masterpiece full of great and magical moments. It is bursting with exceptional music, extraordinary orchestration (replete with trombones, deepsounding drum and perky carillon), extended choruses both profound and ebullient, symphonies, concerto movements for organ, recitatives which explore the varying moods of the characters, and the most stunning arias.

In Saul Handel gifted soloists with roles of vivid characterisation and the artists on this disc are some of the finest Handelian interpreters of today including Christopher Purves - a baritone whose talent for dramatic realisation is matched by superb musical craftsmanship - and Sarah Connolly - whose intensely radiant performance of David on this CD confirms her status as one of our most sought-after Handel performers.

Both Christopher and Sarah sang with The Sixteen at the start of their careers, and Sarah released her first solo album Heroes and Heroines on CORO, and so it is with great pride that we welcome them back for this recording. Robert Murray, Elizabeth Atherton and Joélle Harvey along with Sixteen regulars, Mark Dobell, Jeremy Budd and Stuart Young, complete the stellar line-up of soloists on this new recording.

“[Christophers's] ever-sure handling of choruses, sensitivity to the needs of solo singers and affinity for the orchestral grandeur or Handel's most elaborate score mark him out as an honest, natural Handelian conductor...Purves charms, broods, fumes implacably, plots villainously and confronts his doom vividly in the manner of a Shakespearean tragedian...The Sixteen's first-class account of Saul is magnificent in every way that matters most.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2012

“With his acting chops and weighty bass-baritone, Purves in full cry is a splendid and fearful spectacle. But balm is at hand from Sarah Connolly’s David...She’s at her peak singing O Lord, Whose Mercies Numberless in Act I, channelling her eloquence through the words rather than any elaborately beautified tone...Buy with confidence.” The Times, 7th September 2012 ****

“Christopher Purves gives vent to Saul’s paranoia with trenchant diction and fulminating delivery of Handel’s angry coloratura. Sarah Connolly’s David is the other star, unusually but apparently authentically cast in a role once thought to have been written for a countertenor.” Sunday Times, 16th September 2012

“Christophers is, on the whole, a lively and mainstream Handelian...The set is worth having for Connolly's singing of [David's] aria alone...Purves's volatile Saul strikes me, too, as a prime asset...none of his colleagues in the older sets suggests the gradual slide into paranoia and derangement as Purves does here. His text is immaculate, his coloratura clean and precise, never blustery.” International Record Review, October 2012

“the choruses are always beautifully contoured, as is the incisive playing of The Sixteen's house band. Christopher Purves and Sarah Connolly all but steal the show: Purves's splenetic Saul is a satisfyingly multi-layered creation...Connolly's 'O Lord, whose mercies' proves a spellbinding vindication of casting a sophisticated velvety mezzo” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ****

GGramophone Awards 2013

Finalist - Baroque Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - October 2012

Coro - COR16103

(CD - 3 discs)

$36.00

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


“With incisive, disciplined choral singing, the result is overwhelming.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2008

“The special strengths of Paul McCreesh's performance lie in the drama and the urgency he brings to the work, the keen sense of character he imparts to the music, the vigorous pacing that carries the action forward with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. But Saul is a tragic work, and there's sometimes a want of the necessary gravitas. Nevertheless, this is a gripping and very inspiriting performance. The precision and flexibility of the Gabrieli Consort is a constant delight; the voices are fresh and bright, the words well articulated. The Gabrieli Players, too, produce a fine and distinctive period orchestral timbre. Andreas Scholl makes an ideal David, with sweetness and unusual depth of tone, exceptional precision of rhythm and perfectly clear words: if you try 'O Lord, whose mercies' you will buy this set. Enjoyable, too, is Nancy Argenta's natural, delicately phrased singing of Micah's music, and Susan Gritton's telling portrayal of Saul's elder daughter, Merab. Saul himself, sometimes fiery, nearly always agonised, is effectively drawn by Neal Davies; and Mark Padmore's warm and gently graceful tenor is ideal for Jonathan's music.
There's no shortage of good recordings of this work. Gardiner's weighty version holds the field, but this version presents a serious challenge; the lightness and clarity, the livelier drama and the solo singing of Scholl in particular tell in favour of McCreesh.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Building a Library

First Choice - October 2004

DG Archiv - 4745102

(CD - 3 discs)

$45.25

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


Lynne Dawson, Donna Brown, Derek Lee Ragin, John Mark Ainsley, Neil Mackie, Alastair Miles, Philip Salmon, Philip Slane, Richard Savage, Simon Oberst, Holton

English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir, John Eliot Gardiner

Live recording

Philips - 4262652

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


Marcel Beekman, David Cordier, counter-tenor; Stephan MacLeod, bass; Claron McFadden, Barbara Schlick, soprano; Knut Schoch, tenor; Gotthold Schwarz

Barockorchester Frankfurt, Joachim Carlos Martini, Junge Kantorei

Naxos - 8554361-63

(CD - 3 discs)

$18.50

(also available to download from $21.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

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