6 Comments

  1. David Gregson
    December 21, 2016 @ 10:04 am

    A really wonderful review!

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  2. handfulofshadows
    December 21, 2016 @ 12:45 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful review Ken. It was my second time hearing BCSD do this and I loved it!

    Tiny typo alert — in “who applied his customary skill and flare to the harpsichord” you want flair, rather than flare.

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  3. Peter D
    December 21, 2016 @ 3:25 pm

    “Even other historically informed performances using period instruments do not come close to Ruben Valenzuela’s vibrant …?” That is quite a sweeping statement when you start really thinking about it.

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  4. Henry Powell
    December 22, 2016 @ 1:29 pm

    Actually Handel did not write the libretto, Charles Jennens is responsible for every word in it. Jennens seemed to have underestimated Handel’s gifts and credits himself with Messiah. As for Handel’s English, he spoke four other languages and was famous for making jokes in all of them, sometimes mixing more than one language. A recent book by Jonathan Bardon called ‘Messiah’ provides a very interesting political explanation for Charles Jennens libretto, which was in fact a counterblast against the Deist philosopher John Toland. Toland’s book ‘Christianity not Mysterious’ offended many so Jennens set out to be the champion for Christian belief.

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  5. Ken Herman Ken Herman
    December 27, 2016 @ 1:50 pm

    Thank you for that correction. I recall many years ago attempting to play a poorly constructed harpsichord to which the application of a flare would have been a helpful solution. The Bach Collegium’s fine instrument did not, however, merit a flare!

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  6. Ken Herman Ken Herman
    December 27, 2016 @ 2:05 pm

    And thank you, Henry Powell, for the historical context surrounding Jennens’ libretto. I did not mean to imply, however, that Handel wrote the text, but rather that Handel clearly understood the text that Jennens supplied him and used his skill as an opera composer to invest that text with appropriate dramatic musical expression. Only since Handel’s operas have returned to the stage have we been able to see the connection between his opera style and his oratorios.

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