Nicholas McGegan

Georg Friedrich Händel: Samson

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Listeners should demand more of a recording of Handel's Samson than is delivered here. The work requires a brawnier Samson than is provided by tenor Thomas Cooley. With his agile voice and subtle phrasing, Cooley is fine at portraying the protagonist as pathetic victim, but he altogether lacks the robust tone and vigorous strength to convincingly embody the hero of the Israelites. Soprano Sophie Daneman lacks the sensuality crucial for Dalila. Though her voice is lovely and her intonation flawless, Daneman utterly fails to convince as a seductress; some cynical listeners might wonder why Samson fell for her. Conductor Nicholas McGegan's leadership can't be faulted; he clearly knows and likes the work, and his interpretation is admirably balanced between dramatic drive and lyrical introspection. The performances by NDR Chor and FestspielOrchester Göttingen are excellent, particularly the chorus, and the sound of Carus' super audio recording, made in Dresden's lovely Frauenkirche, is opulent yet vivid, but the production is flawed by the weakness of the two principals.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Samson, oratorio, HWV 57
1 04:30
2 02:02
3 00:34
4 01:56
5 04:06
6 00:26
7 03:26
8 00:34
9 04:42
10 00:51
11 03:13
12 01:20
13 03:58
14 03:24
15 00:55
16 00:34
17 00:49
18 00:14
19 03:03
20 01:07
21 04:34
22 00:13
23 00:55
24 04:46
25 00:21
26 02:49
27 01:58
28 02:33

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Samson, oratorio, HWV 57
1 00:58
2 08:40
3 02:27
4 03:51
5 00:29
6 02:35
7 00:38
8 05:22
9 04:56
10 01:20
11 01:54
12 02:43
13 00:23
14 02:28
15 01:43
16 05:13
17 00:29
18 02:17
19 00:49
20 03:18
21 00:13
22 01:56
23 02:49

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Samson, oratorio, HWV 57
1 01:21
2 01:54
3 00:46
4 02:45
5 01:58
6 04:33
7 00:28
8 02:16
9 00:34
10 03:38
11 00:52
12 03:46
13 01:52
14 00:38
15 02:36
16 03:42
17 02:42
18 00:57
19 05:05
20 00:32
21 06:09
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