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Handel: Carmelite Vespers 1707

Taverner Choir and Players, Andrew Parrott

Handel: Carmelite Vespers /Parrott,
Taverner Choir & Players,
Composer: Anonymous, George Frideric Handel,

Performer: Emma Kirkby,
Conductor: Andrew Parrott,
Orchestra/Ensemble: Taverner Choir, Taverner Players,

His own Lutheranism notwithstanding, Handel wrote some remarkable music for the Catholic liturgy while in Rome as a young man. In our era they've been performed in the concert hall-large-scale, multi-movement pieces such as the robust Dixit Dominus and the gracious Nisi Dominus in particular coming across as miniature oratorios. But they were, in fact, church music-as Andrew Parrott reminds us with this speculative reconstruction of a lavish 1707 Vespers service for which the young Handel provided music. The performance by Parrott and his Taverner groups is exhilarating. The Dixit Dominus in particular packs a real wallop. The contralto, tenor, and bass soloists do excellent work with their limited music, but Handel was obviously writing for star soprano castrati, and the real stars here are Parrott's three (female) soprano soloists. Jill Feldman's softer singing is truly lovely and she rips through some forbidding coloratura. Emma Kirkby is, of course, a delight in Laudate pueri, and Emily van Evera sings superbly-her timing in the solemn opening and closing bars of the Salve Regina will have you on the edge of your seat.


“We are used to hearing Dixit in the concert hall, so it’s good to be reminded that it was written for the liturgy. Parrott includes it in his reconstruction of Handel's Carmelite Vespers of 1707 - complete with plainsong and most of Handel's other Latin church music.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2009

Brand New/sealed 2CD
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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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