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Track(s) taken from CDA67737

O praise the Lord with one consent 'Chandos Anthem No 9', HWV254

between August 1717 and summer 1718
author of text
Psalm 135: 1-3, 5; 117: 1, 2; 148: 1-2
author of text
Psalm 135: 1-3, 5; 117: 1, 2; 148: 1-2

Trinity College Choir Cambridge, Academy of Ancient Music, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Recording details: July 2008
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: May 2009
Total duration: 24 minutes 51 seconds

Cover artwork: The Court of Trinity College, Cambridge by William Westall (1781-1850)
Private Collection / The Stapleton Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Soloists and chorus alike excel in three of Handel's Chandos Anthems … the 40 members of the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, sing with flexibility and lightness … Emma Kirkby shows her stylistic intelligence and masterful communication of text in the opening of HWV252. It is enjoyable to hear some of Handel's lesser-known and more intimate church music performed with such elegant restraint and skill' (Gramophone)

'There is vintage Handel to be gleaned here … Layton offers luxury casting, Iestyn Davies and Neal Davies on particularly commanding form … the only thing missing on this disc are the words 'Vol. 1'. Such 'Handel with care' deserves nothing less' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stephen Layton is on a roll … his inspirational direction and choice of top soloists makes this a welcome addition to earlier recordings. The choir sings with their usual purity of tone and clear diction whle the Academy of Ancient Music plays with convincing vigour in the sprightly double-dotted passages' (The Observer)

'The choir's firm tone and tightly disciplined singing, coupled with the Academy's polished ensemble and phrasing, are a considerable improvement on The Sixteen and O'Reilly's sometimes raw and slightly untidy performances … Emma Kirkby's contributions are unfailingly masterful. Her solo, backed by the choir, in HWV252's lyrical opening movement and in HWV254's gentle soprano aria, 'God's tender mercy', are high points of these performances, easily outclassing Christopher's two sopranos … the young countertenor Iestyn Davies also sings impressively' (International Record Review)

'Very good performances … Emma Kirby sings with beauty and authority … much to enjoy here' (Fanfare, USA)

'Emma Kirkby's voice has only improved with age; her tone is warmer and rounder, and her interpretive instincts, always sound, are fully on display here. The other three soloists are equally strong … this choir always is a pleasure to hear—singers this well trained and intelligent don't put a foot wrong anywhere—and the orchestra needs no confirmation of its baroque-music-playing credentials. Conductor Stephen Layton seems to be popping up everywhere these days—and we're all the luckier for that' (Classics Today)

'Der Choir of Trinity College überzeugt mit klarem Stimmfokus, hoher Koloratursicherheit und exzellenter Aussprache … Nuancen bringen die vier Solisten nahezu optimal zur Geltung' (Fono Forum, Germany)
The texts of O praise the Lord with one consent are taken from three psalms (135, 117 and 148) in the metrical versions of Tate and Brady. No opening Sonata is provided, but the first chorus has an unusually long orchestral introduction by way of compensation. The trebles alone enter with the first four notes of the opening theme, and the other voices join in on the words ‘with one consent’, a naïve but amusing touch. The theme itself resembles the first phrase of the tune ‘St Anne’, first printed in England in 1708 and now best known as the tune for Isaac Watts’s hymn ‘O God, our help in ages past’. (It also appears in J S Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E flat, BWV552.) However, Handel had already used a similar idea in the opening Sonata of his cantata Tu fedel? tu costante?, composed in Rome in 1707, so the resemblance to the hymn tune is probably coincidental. Three vocally demanding solos follow, the first two (in minor keys) providing the contrasts in mood that Handel always seems anxious to maintain throughout the anthems. The last of the group, ‘That God is great’ for bass, is a reworking of a solo in the Queen Anne Birthday Ode. In the following chorus, ‘With cheerful notes’, Handel boldly uses diminuendo effects to suggest voices rising to heaven. The last solo, ‘God’s tender mercy’, again in a minor key, becomes a highly personal acknowledgement of divine compassion. Major keys return for the final pair of choruses, and the anthem is brought to an exciting close with a combination of ideas finally settling into a triumphant peal of Alleluias.

from notes by Anthony Hicks © 2009

Les textes de O praise the Lord with one consent sont empruntés au trois psaumes (135, 117 et 148) dans les versions métriques de Tate et Brady. Il n’y a aucune sonate initiale, mais le premier chœur comporte une introduction orchestrale d’une longueur inhabituelle pour compenser. Les sopranos commencent seules avec les quatre premières notes du thème initial et les autres voix entrent sur les mots «with one consent», touche naïve mais amusante. Le thème lui-même ressemble à la première phrase de l’air «St Anne», imprimé pour la première fois en Angleterre en 1708 et plus connu de nos jours comme l’air de l’hymne d’Isaac Watts, «O God, our help in ages past». (Il apparaît aussi dans le Prélude et Fugue en mi bémol majeur, BWV552, de J. S. Bach.) Toutefois, Haendel avait déjà eu recours à une idée analogue dans la sonate initiale de sa cantate Tu fedel? tu costante? composée à Rome en 1707; la ressemblance avec l’air de l’hymne n’est probablement qu’une pure coïncidence. Viennent ensuite trois solos très exigeants sur le plan vocal, les deux premiers (dans des tonalités mineures) créant les contrastes d’atmosphère que Haendel semble toujours soucieux de maintenir d’un bout à l’autre des anthems. Le dernier des trois, «That God is great» pour basse, est le remaniement d’un solo de l’Ode pour l’anniversaire de la reine Anne. Dans le chœur suivant, «With cheerful notes», Haendel utilise audacieusement des effets diminuendo pour suggérer que les voix s’élèvent vers les cieux. Le dernier solo, «God’s tender mercy», à nouveau dans une tonalité mineure, devient une reconnaissance très personnelle de la compassion divine. Les tonalités majeures reviennent pour les deux derniers chœurs et l’anthem s’oriente vers une conclusion passionnante avec un mélange d’idées s’installant finalement dans un éclat triomphal d’Alléluias.

extrait des notes rédigées par Anthony Hicks © 2009
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris

Die Texte von O praise the Lord with one consent stammen aus drei Psalmen (135, 117 und 148) in den metrischen Versionen von Tate und Brady. Zwar erklingt hier zu Beginn keine Sonata, doch hat der erste Chor dafür eine ungewöhnlich lange Instrumentaleinleitung. Die Sopranstimmen setzen allein mit den ersten vier Noten des Anfangsthemas ein und die anderen Stimmen kommen dann bei „with one consent“ dazu, ein etwas naive, aber nette Note. Das Thema selbst erinnert an die erste Phrase der Melodie „St Anne“, die in England 1708 erstmals gedruckt erschien und heutzutage vor allem als Melodie des Kirchenliedes „O God, our help in ages past“ von Isaac Watts bekannt ist. (Sie taucht ebenfalls in J. S. Bachs Praeludium und Fuge in Es-Dur BWV552 auf.) Händel hatte jedoch ein ähnliches Motiv bereits in der eröffnenden Sonata zu seiner Kantate Tu fedel? tu costante? verwendet, die 1707 in Rom entstand, so dass die Ähnlichkeit zu der Kirchenliedmelodie wahrscheinlich eher zufällig ist. Es folgen drei anspruchsvolle Vokalsoli; die ersten beiden stehen in Moll und drücken unterschiedliche Stimmungen aus—ein Stilmittel, das Händel in allen seinen Anthems verwendete. Das dritte Solo, „That God is great“ für Bass, ist eine Bearbeitung eines Solos aus der Queen Anne Birthday Ode. Im darauffolgenden Chor, „With cheerful notes“, setzt Händel kühne Diminuendo-Effekte ein, um damit anzudeuten, dass die Stimmen gen Himmel aufsteigen. Das letzte Solo, „God’s tender mercy“, wiederum in Moll, ist eine sehr persönliche Anerkennung von Gottes Mitleid. In den letzten beiden Chören findet eine Rückkehr nach Dur statt und das Anthem wird mit einer Kombination von mehreren Motiven, die sich schließlich zu triumphierend läutenden Alleluia-Gesängen verbinden, zu einem spannenden Ende gebracht.

aus dem Begleittext von Anthony Hicks © 2009
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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