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Georg Friedrich Handel – Timotheus oder die Gewalt der Musik – Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Georg Friedrich Handel – Timotheus oder die Gewalt der Musik – Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:43:13 minutes | 1,01 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Artwork: Digital Booklet | © Sony Classical
Recorded: 28/29 November 2012, Musikverein, Vienna

Am 29. November 2012 feierte die Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien und damit der Wiener Musikverein seinen 200. Geburtstag mit einem ganz besonderen Konzert: einer Rekonstruktion des ersten Konzerts im Jahr 1812, diesmal unter der Leitung von Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Auf dem Programm stand wie damals Timotheus oder Die Gewalt der Musik, die deutsche Fassung von Händels Alexander’s Feast in einer Bearbeitung von Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, die dieser 1790 für Baron van Swieten erstellt hatte. Damit es genauso klang wie im Jahre 1812 hatten Concentus Musicus und Singverein insgesamt rund 200 Mitwirkende aufgeboten. Hinzu kamen mit Roberta Invernizzi, Werner Güra und Gerald Finley drei erstklassige Solisten, und am Ende ließ Harnoncourt sogar noch das Publikum mitsingen: “Die schwarzen Punkte – das sind die Noten.”

This recording is of a concert that marked the bicentenary of the founding of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and reconstructed its opening performance, which featured several hundred musicians (professional and amateur) performing Mozart’s re-orchestration of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast – as Timotheus oder Die Gewalt der Musik – with some further touching up (such as the addition of a bass drum, and extra brass) by Franz Ignaz von Mosel, who changed the title to Timotheus and also conducted. Nikolaus Harnoncourt used the original orchestral parts in preparing this performance. A work praising the power of music was an obvious choice for the society’s opening concert, but it also had political overtones as the Austrian Empire’s musical proficiency was represented as a factor in the part it played in the defeats inflicted upon Napoleon that year.
The 1812 performance took place in the Spanish Riding School where Mosel was able to mount a gargantuan spectacle. Harnoncourt mustered as many musicians (including about a hundred singers) as could fit on the stage of the Musikverein. The result is audibly that of a great ceremonial occasion, with very vivid and immediate sound – sometimes too hectoring – not least when the brass and drums come to the fore (beware having the volume too high). The choir members are full-voiced and clearly enjoy themselves, and the whole effect is rather like those massed performances of Handel’s oratorios under Sargent or Beecham, except that there is no vibrato of course, and the ‘period’ brass instruments are rather rasping, and at times the woodwinds sound acidic.

Subtle this performance isn’t, but Harnoncourt does manage to draw out wide (but not exaggerated) expressive and dynamic contrasts. The ‘Andante’ of the Overture is a graceful dance, for instance, and there is a quiet dignity in ‘Er sang den Perser’ (in mood and key foreshadowing ‘He was despised’ in Handel’s Messiah). Unfortunately, except for Gerald Finley (with just two arias), the soloists are not at their best. Werner Güra’s singing is often bland and uninspired. Worse, it’s rather worrying that the melismas in ‘Selig, selig, selig Paar’ seem rather a strain for him, and his taking breaths in the middle of these are audible. Roberta Invernizzi is musically more varied in her part (her solo in ‘Er sang den Perser’, for example, is moving), but she is often wobbly and intonation is sometimes insecure – her reaching up to the high B flats in ‘Thaïs führt ihn an’ is not pretty.

At best then, this release serves as a record of what must have been a lively and memorable occasion in Vienna’s venerable musical calendar. With more intelligent and nuanced renditions it could have been an even more worthwhile document charting the influence which Handel’s music had beyond his adopted English home, in mainland Europe during the 19th-century. –Curtis Rogers, ClassicalSource


Georg Friedrich Händel (1685–1759)
Timotheus oder die Gewalt der Musik (Alexander’s Feast or The Power of Musick)
arranged by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
extended version of the 1812 Vienna performance by Ignaz Franz vonMosel
1 N. 1 Ouvertüre 07:01
2 Nr. 2 Rezitativ (Tenor): Am königlichen Feste 01:04
3 Nr. 3 Arie (Tenor) und Chor: Selig, selig, selig Paar! 05:53
4 Nr. 4 Rezitativ (Tenor): Der Sänger ragt hervor 00:27
5 Nr. 5 Accompagnato (Sopran): Das Lied begann vom Zeus 01:00
6 Nr. 6 Chor: Den stillen Trupp entzückt das hohe Lied 02:32
7 Nr. 7 Arie (Sopran): Der König horcht mit stolzem Ohr 03:55
8 Nr. 8 Rezitativ (Bass): Des Bacchus Lob stimmt nun der süße Künstler an 00:47
9 Nr. 9 Arie (Bass) und Chor: Bacchus, ewig jung und schön 04:53
10 Nr. 10 Rezitativ (Tenor): Siegprangend fühlt der Held das Lied! 00:48
11 Nr. 11 Accompagnato (Sopran): Nun flößt sein Trauerton 01:21
12 Nr. 12 Arie (Sopran): Er sang den Perser groß und gut 03:10
13 Nr. 13 Accompagnato (Sopran): Gesenkt das Haupt, sitzt traurig da der Held 01:19
14 Nr. 14 Chor: Seht an den Perser, groß und gut 02:51
15 Nr. 15 Rezitativ (Sopran): Der Meister lächelt, weil er sieht 00:35
16 Nr. 16 Arioso (Sopran): Töne sanft, du lydisch Brautlied! 03:31
17 Nr. 17 Arie (Tenor): Krieg, o Held, ist Sorg’ und Arbeit 05:05
18 Nr. 18 Chor: Die ganze Schar erhebt ein Lobgeschrei 04:33
19 Nr. 19 Arie (Sopran): Der Held, der seine Glut umsonst verhehlt 06:42
20 Nr. 18 Chor da capo: Die ganze Schar erhebt ein Lobgeschrei 05:02
21 Speech by Nikolaus Harnoncourt · chorus of the audience 05:59
22 Nr. 20 Accompagnato (Tenor): Erschalle, goldenes Saitenspiel 04:58
23 Nr. 21 Arie (Bass): Gib rach’! 08:26
24 Nr. 22 Accompagnato (Tenor): rache, rache gib deinem wackren Heer! 01:43
25 Nr. 23 Arie (Tenor): Es jauchzen die Krieger 02:15
26 Nr. 24 Arie (Sopran): Thais führt ihn an – Chor: Die Krieger, sie jauchzen 05:24
27 Nr. 25 Accompagnato (Tenor): So stimmte vor – Chor: Vom Himmel kam caecilia 06:31
28 Nr. 26 Rezitativ (Tenor, Bass): Timotheus, entsag dem Preis! 00:25
29 Nr. 27 Soli und Chor: Timotheus, entsag dem Preis! 05:05

Roberta Invernizzi, soprano
Werner Güra, tenor
Gerald Finley, bass
Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien
Chorus master: Johannes Prinz
Chorus soloist: Wolfgang Adler, tenor
Concentus Musicus Wien
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor


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