George Frideric Handel, NDR Choir, Festspiel Orchester Gottingen, Laurence Cummi - Joshua

Published Friday 12th June 2015
George Frideric Handel, NDR Choir, Festspiel Orchester Gottingen, Laurence Cummi - Joshua
George Frideric Handel, NDR Choir, Festspiel Orchester Gottingen, Laurence Cummi - Joshua

STYLE: Choral
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 157456-
LABEL: Accent ACC26403
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

This product is currently not available from Cross Rhythms Direct


Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

We will start with something positive: the American tenor Kenneth Tarver makes an excellent Joshua and when he is centre-stage the oratorio comes to life. Joshua, the successor to Moses, is one of the great heroes of the Old Testament and his story as recorded in Scripture supplies the background to Handel's oratorio 'Joshua' (HWV 64), premiered in 1748; it was supplemented by a love story involving the young captain, Othniel (mezzo-soprano Renata Pokupic) and Achsah, the daughter of an elder (soprano Anna Dennis), by the presumed librettist, Thomas Morell. And therein lies my problem: I found it difficult to distinguish between Othniel and Achsah and even though the words are English the diction was not always clear enough to allow me to understand. No doubt Handel had his reasons for including a bit of romance and finding something for the ladies to sing but I do not think it adds anything to the story and makes the whole too long for comfort. As I say, when Joshua is on stage things move forward and his friend Caleb (baritone Tobias Berndt) is also excellent although under used. The NDR Choir and Festspiel Orchester Gottingen give good value and with some judicious editing a single disc highlights would be well worth hearing. Those who want a full length 'Joshua' and are willing to pay full price will find that this does the job but there are other recordings available that are worth considering. If it was not for Kenneth Tarver I would disregard this recording but he is such an outstanding Joshua that one can overlook the shortcomings mentioned above.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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