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Handel: Saul

Duration:
2 hours, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 06 October 2011

Louise Fryer presents a performance of one of Handel's most dramatic oratorios: Saul, recorded at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, in March. Baroque specialist Nicholas Kraemer, conducts a period-proportioned BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with the BBC National Chorus of Wales and many of the finest British singers of early music.

Handel's story begins just after David (Robin Blaze) slays the Philistine giant Goliath. King Saul (Roderick Willliams) grows jealous - first of David and then of his own son Jonathan (Andrew Staples) - with fatal consequences. The chorus reflect first the triumphant joy of the people of Israel, and then their despondency as they watch the downfall of their king.

Handel takes every opportunity to paint the action with impressive, martial choruses and heart-rending airs. There is even a touch of magic, as Saul, having given up on God, consults the Witch of Endor in a scene vividly conjured up by Handel's orchestration.

We'll also hear from Roderick Williams, Roderick Blaze and Andrew Staples on the challenges and rewards of what some consider Handel's greatest oratorio.

Music Played

2 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Saul

    Performer: Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Performer: Ann-Helen Moen (soprano) Performer: Andrew Staples (tenor) Performer: James Geer (tenor) Performer: Robin Blaze (counter-tenor) Performer: Roderick Williams (baritone) Performer: Ben Johnson (tenor) Performer: Matthew Hargreaves (baritone) Performer: BBC National Chorus of Wales Performer: BBC National Orchestra of Wales Conductor: Nicholas Kraemer

  • Image for Sir Charles Villiers Stanford

    Sir Charles Villiers Stanford "The Middle-Watch" from Songs of the Fleet, Op.117

    Performer: Gerald Finley (baritone) Performer: BBC National Chorus of Wales Performer: BBC National Orchestra of Wales Conductor: Richard Hickox

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