ClassicsOnline Home » HANDEL: Tobit > Review List


Composer(s):Handel, George Frideric
Period(s) Baroque (1600-1750)
Genre Classical Music
Category Choral - Sacred
Catalogue 8.570113-14
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Compiled by John Christopher Smith from Handel’s operas, oratorios and other works, the oratorio Tobit, sometimes described as a pastiche, provided a winning synthesis of religion and entertainment at a time when newly-minted oratorios, drawing chiefly on biblical subjects were in vogue. The story of the pious and steadfast Tobit (Tobias the elder) is taken from the apocryphal Book of Tobias, in which he is persecuted for burying the dead. Patient in adversity, Tobit is finally restored to health and prosperity, while his son, Tobias, is safely married to Sarah.

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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Tobit is a pasticcio, drawn from many different numbers in Handel’s operas and oratorios. This oratorio, based on the Book of Tobit in the Apocrypha, was compiled five years after Handel’s death by John Christopher Smith, who inherited his manuscripts. Cleverly, Smith builds the pieces from lesser-known numbers, varying the forces used, so that there are many more ensemble numbers, duets, trios and arias as well as choruses, than in the Handel operas. The story involves little stress, a piece designed to make the listener feel good, so that the last two of the three sections end in triumphant Alleluia choruses, though the very last is in a minor key. The performance with Frankfurt forces is first rat, with Joachim Carlos Martini drawing lively playing


Review By ,Scherzo,September 2007


Review By Richard Gate,Limelight Magazine,May 2007

The singers are very close-miked and this is very exciting. The audio range is restrained; it is a typical EMI recording from the 1950s and the tape hiss is evident. Frankly, this is preferable to the practice of lopping the top off older recordings to make them more palatable to a digitally attuned audience.

This boxed set comes with seven extra tracks of music from the opera, comprising historical recordings from Jussi Bjorling and Robert Merrill (1950), Blanche Thebem (1950), Ezio Pinza (1946), Marian Anderson (1928), Mattia Battisini (1913) and Merta Seinemeyer (1927). They display a range of singing and acting styles that illuminate the work.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,February 2007

Though Naxos is marketing this as a work by Handel, it is in fact a pastiche by John Christopher Smith who 'borrowed' music from Handel�s operas, oratorios and other works. I suppose you would kindly describe Smith as an 'opportunist', who finding he had inherited Handel's scores from his father - who had acted as the composer's copyist - was not slow in using them for his own financial gain. He enlisted the help of Thomas Morell to supply a suitable libretto to fit the chosen music, and used various sources in creating the musical story. It relates the legend of the pious and steadfast Tobit (Tobias the elder) who becomes blind and sends his son also called Tobit to collect money owed. A guiding hand passes him through trials and tribulations



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