Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Handel “Dixit Dominus”

An 8-movement setting of Ps. 110 from Handel’s early period, when he was learning to write Italian opera:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x73flpArsYo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yp3PhvyMYHY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S5UYPGiUVM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbkKMgQnmCk

I have had the joy of singing this once. It’s a beast - he definitely wasn’t being kind to his singers. Just hunting down all the notes is an accomplishment. The orchestra for our performance, as I recall, commented that they were “used to doing this piece with choirs that couldn’t really sing it!”

This recording takes the first and last movements at pretty breakneck tempi. I want whatever those sopranos ate for breakfast to fire off those melismas at the start of the 8th movement. :)

Anyway, it’s a great piece. Enjoy.

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