Handel, Aradia Ensemble, Kevin Mallon - Israel In Egypt

Published Sunday 21st December 2008
Handel, Aradia Ensemble, Kevin Mallon - Israel In Egypt
Handel, Aradia Ensemble, Kevin Mallon - Israel In Egypt

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 74680-
LABEL: Naxos Baroque Vocal 857096667
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 2

This product is currently not available from Cross Rhythms Direct


Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

'Israel In Egypt' starts with "The Lamentation Of The Israelites For The Death Of Joseph" from the end of the Book of Genesis and moves through "The Exodus" to conclude with "Moses' Song" that celebrates the destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. This brief synopsis does not sound like a particularly fun way to spend two hours but Handel's music is so full of joie de vivre that the time races by and even those who find Baroque music too, er, Baroque (a technical term for twiddley) should give it a listen. 'Israel In Egypt' was written three years before the 'Messiah' and both are somewhat atypical of the composer's usual approach. Scored for double chorus and an orchestra using trombones, trumpets, timpani, woodwind and strings with continuo, 'Israel In Egypt' contains relatively little solo material but is dominated by large-scale virtuosic choruses that fully exploit Handel's lavish and sophisticated word-painting (and the piece was written in English). Set-pieces for which the work is most famous include swarming strings representing flies in "He Spake The Word", the furious brass and timpani in "He Gave Them Hailstones For Rain" and the celebrated depiction of frogs in the aria "Their Land Brought Forth Frogs". Irish-born, Canada-based Kevin Mallon leads his Canadian Aradia Ensemble and soloists with an assured touch and the very reasonable price makes this an easy recommendation.

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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