Handel and W. Croft – Music for the Peace of Utrecht – The Netherlands Bach Society, Jos van Veldhoven (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 73:00 minutes | 2,22 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: channelclassics | Pdf booklet with texts and translations included
Recording: Philharmonie, Haarlem, The Netherlands, May 2009
Сomposer: George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), William Croft (1678-1727)
Artist: The Netherlands Bach Society, Jos van Veldhoven
The Netherlands Bach Society
Jos van Veldhoven (conductor)
Nicki Kennedy (soprano)
William Towers (alto)
Wolfram Lattke, Julian Podger (tenor)
Peter Harvey (bass)
Disc reviews Steven Ritter (audaud.com)
This disc is offered as a foretaste of the celebration of 300 years since the passing of the Treaty of Utrecht, an event that can hardly be underestimated as it brought an end to almost 200 years of war in Europe. It was a big event then and has not lost its significance today. The Treaty of Utrecht Foundation is in part responsible for the sponsorship of this recording.
Handel was just starting to acclimate himself to the ways of England when the opportunity to write his Te Deum presented itself. The accompanying Jubilate was almost an afterthought to the other composition. It only took about two seasons for the already-successful composer to establish himself as the one to beat in terms of musical talent, and the Queen and English court caught on to his genius in rather short order. Otherwise it is impossible to understand how a foreign composer so easily assumed the first place for selection in such an important commission as this, works to be performed at St. Paul’s to celebrate the most important European event in 500 years. In fact, Handel’s opus was destined to supplant Purcell’s Te Deum that was annually performed on St. Cecelia’s Day on November 22 of each year, no mean feat. It is a spectacular piece with all of the typically Handelian effects that we all know and love, though it will probably not rank among favorite Handeliana when compared to what he could accomplish in future years; likewise the Jubilate, another invigorating and immediately popular work that served as an infallible calling card to London society.
William Croft (1678-1727) was court organist and composer along with master of the Children in the Chapel Royal and organist of St. Peter’s Westminster. His motivations for the composition of this blockbuster Ode were a little different from Handel’s, a musical dissertation devised to earn him a doctorate from Oxford University, which it did. This work was performed three months after the Utrecht treaty, and is full of what we would now consider Handelian devices as well. This is not surprising as the two composers were colleagues and friends at the Chapel Royal, and it is hard to ascertain who influenced who. Croft’s work is a marvel, wonderful choral work with a striking overture, and one that did good service to the court and the celebrations.
The Netherlands Bach Society is a crackerjack ensemble of tremendous quality and digs into these pieces with relish. Channel’s surround sound is simply brilliant, and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by this recording.