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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.
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Jephtha was Handel’s last original oratorio. He began drafting the score on 21 January 1751, but at the end of February the onset of blindness forced him to abandon work until 18 June; he eventually completed the oratorio on 30 August, and it was first performed at Covent Garden on 26 February 1752. The plot was adapted by Thomas Morell from Chapters X to XII of the Old Testament Book of Judges: the outcast Jephtha (sung by Beard) has been made commander of the Israelite army, and in advance of a fierce battle against the Ammonites he vows rashly that if they are victorious he will sacrifice to God the first thing that he sees on his return; to his horror, this transpires to be his own daughter, Iphis. Part III begins with a sorrowful soliloquy for the grief-stricken Jephtha, who knows that he must make the sacrifice at dawn and therefore begs the sun not to rise; when it does, he prays that angels will conduct Iphis safely to heaven. Handel’s last major scene created for Beard exquisitely achieves the transition from disconsolate anguish to a halcyon vision of solace and eternity.