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HANDEL: Music for the Chapel Royal

Composer(s):Handel, George Frideric
Period(s) Baroque (1600-1750)
Genre Classical Music
Category Choral - Sacred
Catalogue 8.557935
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

This recording restores some of Handel’s finest but least-known music to the choir for which he wrote it and to the building where he performed it, probably for the first time since his own performances there. Forming one of the most impressive areas of Baroque music, Handel’s English church music spans his entire active career in London, from his first anthem composed soon after his arrival, to his last works nearly forty years later. Most of it was stimulated by Handel’s creative contact with the English Chapel Royal, a group of professional singers in a different tradition from the opera stars with whom he worked in the theatre.

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Review By Anthony Clarke,Limelight Magazine,July 2007

Here’s a splendid idea. Take four magnificent choral works by Handel, which have been rarely performed since their composition, and place them in the setting for which they were written—the chapel inside St James’ Palace. The Chapel Royal itself is not a place, but rather the term given to the collective of people, most importantly the choir, which is entrusted by the queen to perform these works. But because of primacy through age and usage, the term is also given to the actual St James’ Palace chapel. It is in this chapel that Handel would have heard these works performed for the first time. And it is in this setting that Naxos has gained permission to have these works performed and recorded. The setting gives a wonderful translucency of sound and a natural


Review By David Denton, Naxos,April 2007

Since Handel's time these pieces have never again been performed in St. James's Palace until the present Queen gave special permission for this historic recording. By the time he took up residence in London in 1717, the eminence of the Choir of the Chapel Royal may already have been in decline, but with his appointment six years later as the official composer to the Chapel Royal, he brought new life, status and significance to their existence. I should explain that there is no such building as the Chapel Royal, the choir who carry that name being required to sing at any of the many places within the Royal Family's orbit. Yet as their most frequently visited place of worship during Handel's time was the Chapel at St. James' Palace, it did eventually - but erroneously - gain



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