Latest release on VIVAT brings Mendelssohn’s astonishing reconstruction of Handel’s great oratorio Israel in Egypt. Mendelssohn’s 1833 Düsseldorf performance has been painstakingly reconstructed from fragments and sources across Europe: the large and colourful orchestra, playing nineteenth-century instruments, produces vivid new sonorities, and the double choir sings magnificently. Listeners familiar with Handel’s 1739 version will also find new numbers, significant changes to the order of movements and very different orchestrations. The work starts with a thrilling, pure-Mendelssohn overture, mixing life and energy with moments of exquisitely shifting instrumental colours. There is fine solo singing from solo sopranos Lydia Teuscher and Julia Doyle, alto Hilary Summers, tenor Benjamin Hulett, and bass Roderick Williams: Robert King and The King’s Consort are on top form.
Recorded in the splendid acoustic of St Jude’s, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, where TKC have made more than 65 recordings.
Extensive presentation includes 60 page booklet with authoritative liner notes in three languages by renowned Mendelssohn expert Prof Larry Todd and by Robert King, full libretto and translation, session photographs and reproductions of Mendelssohn’s manuscripts.
Two CD set with second CD free.
“with his vast Handelian experience, King ensures that Handel's mighty series of choral frescoes emerge in all their brilliance and incisiveness, aided by a carefully judged choral-orchestral balance…a vividly realised snapshot of a fascinating historical moment” Gramophone
“the performance makes a strong case for the piece, even if Mendelssohn's version is unlikely to make a full-scale comeback. The choir is lively, making every word clear, though some of King's conducting feels on the staid side. All the soloists make their mark.” BBC Music Magazine
“King’s players conjure up a vivid, lithe soundworld on authentic instruments which is a joy to the ear. Choral and solo contributions (Roderick Williams exceptional even by his own standards) are as impressive as the recorded sound” Classical Music
Handel, Georg Friderick: Israel in Egypt, HWV54 (arr. Mendelssohn)