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Handel Solomon
Oratorio in three acts sung in English

Nancy Argenta - soprano (Queen, First Harlot)
Laurie Reviol - soprano (Queen of Sheba, Second Harlot)
Michael Chance - alto (Solomon)
Julian Podger - tenor (Zadok)
Steffen Balbach - bass (Levite)
Hannoversche Hofkapelle/Maulbronn Chamber Choir/Juergen Budday

A concert recording from the minster at abbey Maulbronn (Germany) Sept. 2003 Maulbronn Monastery Edition by Andreas Otto Grimminger and Josef-Stefan Kindler with Juergen Budday. Fine Art, pictures and covers: Josef-Stefan Kindler. Recording, mastering engineer and director of all our releases: Andreas Otto Grimminge.r

2 CDs, KuK 73 (Purchase from K&K)

Please read this in conjunction with my earlier review of Jephtha at Maulbronn, in which I extol the marvellous Maulbronn website. The comprehensive information about Solomon (including complete libretto in English and German, and a large collection of photos which give a feeling of being in the audience) makes this a particularly worth-while acquisition for internet purchasers.

Solomon is a joyous oratorio, surely one of the next in line for operatic production? It has the famous scene about the dispute over a baby, neatly resolved by Solomon, and the ever-popular arrival of The Queen of Sheba in the Third Act, given a charming rendition here in context, and without striving for excessive speed and virtuosity, and treating it as a display piece.

The solos are in good hands and voices; the Abbey seems to provide an ideal acoustic and the sound engineering team draws upon long experience of recording there. Only the German bass Steffen Balbach is a little stretched in the live concert situation for his fast divisions in the Levite's arias; studio retakes would have helped him. Michael Chance is authoritative and mellifluous as Solomon, Julian Podger's tenor is fine as the priest Zadok and the two contrasting Canadian sopranos are both in perfect voice for their doublings as Queens and Harlots!

All in all, a triumphant recorded concert performance which challenges the earlier studio recordings by John Eliot Gardiner (with a mezzo Solomon, as originally) and Andreas Scholl for Paul McCreesh.

[You may find it easier to print out the English text from http://opera.stanford.edu/iu/libretti/solomon.htm
a valuable resource for opera and oratorio libretti]

© Peter Grahame Woolf