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CD Review

George Frideric Handel

Der für die Sünde der Welt, HWV 48

"Brockes" Passion

Maria Stader
Edda Moser
Paul Esswood
Ernst Haefliger
Regensburger Domchor
Schola Cantorum Basiliensis/August Wenzinger
Deutsche Grammophon Archiv Originals 463644-2 181m ADD
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Many of us wax lyrical on the legendary Passions by J.S. Bach but most collectors or musical lovers are definitely not familiar with the obscure "Brockes" Passion by Handel. On reading the extensive booklet notes, one finds out that B.H. Brockes wrote a sublime text that was repeatedly used by several composers to compose their own music for Holy Week. Handel's monumental offering which spreads to just over three hours is beautifully recorded here.

Wenzinger was an august scholar in such traditions and the sound of the Regensburger Choir together with the austere Schola Cantorum Basiliensis is quite "period", at least according to my own observations. The team of soloists is also top-class with Stader and Moser on scintillating form. This is indeed an extremely interesting interplay of musical styles that offers a welcome diversion from the more dramatic Bach works although one notes a certain pomp and nobility in Handel's scoring. It is unique in the recorded canon so one might as well snap it up whilst it is available.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech