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Thread: Favourite oratorio

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Default Favourite oratorio

    I know not many of us here have actually heard more than 10 or so oratorios in their life, but do show us at least three of your favourites. Mine are:

    1. 'Christus' (Liszt)
    2. 'Messiah' (Händel)
    3. 'The Dream of Gerontius' (Elgar)
    4. 'The Matthew Passion' (Bach)
    4. 'Judas the Macabee' (Händel)
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    Junior Member captaintim's Avatar
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    One can never forget the Messiah, but surely the Christmas Oratorio has to ranked even higher. I've never been able to get into Gerontius, perhaps I need to play it, but I think this is partly due to the fact that I heard a hideous orchestra perform this piece when I was about 10 and it left a bad taste!

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    I guess the history repeats itself... I've read somewhere that the very premiere of Gerontius was performed by a lousy, unprepared orchestra and choir.

    Ever heard the Saint-Saëns 'Christmas Oratorio'? It's beautiful - pastoral and intimate, almost chamber music (in greatest part).
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    Junior Member captaintim's Avatar
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    Never heard of it but might check it out, although I can't say I'm head over heels for Saint-Seans. That said, I think The Swan is absolutely stunning. Its only popular because people know the tune, not that they appreciate how good a piece it is (I don't know the whole carnival, so can't comment on the rest). The harmony is absolutely wonderful - listen carefully next time you hear it and you'll see what I mean.

    Have you heard the Creation (Haydn?) Check it out, that's an oratorio

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    Member Amy's Avatar
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    Well, as my email address is handels_messiah@hotmail.com I'm sure you can all figure out what my number one oratorio is! I also love Judas Macabee, L'Orfeo and Haydn's Creation, which is absolutely glorious. Haydn did what Weelkes tended to do, and almost onomatopaeised the music with the words. Because of this I find it even better in English!

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    I'll really try to get a disk with The Creation. What I read elsewhere and what you said about it does intrigue me...

    Just listened to The Swan again. I see what you mean, captaintim. It's indeed more than just a beautiful tune - and the cello was a perfect choice for it.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    Senior Member 4/4player's Avatar
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    Handel's Messiah....I think its the greatest oratorio work ever created...
    Especially the Halleluah chorus...the history of how it was finished and performed surpasses others...it was performed for the benefit of sick people, one famous classical music composer said this after listening to the Hallelujah chorus, "He is the master of us all." just thoughts from an aspiring conductor...
    4/4player
    " 'Penitence!'
    'No!'
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    'Penitence!'
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    'Nooooooooooo!' [Dragged down into Hell]
    - Act two: Finale of Mozart's "Don Giovanni"

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Messiah is the best I think, as it appeals not only to musical folk, but also the common people! On my first performance of the Messiah as part of the bass section, I overheard two elderly women talking at the end. One said to the other - "Well, Christmas has started. We've heard the Messiah!"
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Member cato's Avatar
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    This is going to sound like a stupid question, but I'll risk it in order to get an answer.

    What.... excatly.... is an oratorio? I mean, what is it's proper defintion?

    How does an oratorio differ from say..... Bach's Mass in B Minor?

    Does an oratorio always have some element of "faith" or "praise" to God?

    Just wondering.... please be gentle.

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    Well,

    As one who will *bend the rules* as to what constitutes an Oratorio, I will say that the greatest of these is Bach's B-minor Mass. I can listen to it every day and never grow tired of it - every listening session leaves me feeling refreshed like I have just stepped out of a waterfall in the tropics after a hot and sweaty hike.

    Regards!

    Giovanni

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giovannimusica View Post
    Well,

    As one who will *bend the rules* as to what constitutes an Oratorio, I will say that the greatest of these is Bach's B-minor Mass. I can listen to it every day and never grow tired of it - every listening session leaves me feeling refreshed like I have just stepped out of a waterfall in the tropics after a hot and sweaty hike.

    Regards!

    Giovanni
    Giovannimusica,

    I was fortunate to hear and see a live performance of Bach's Mass in B minor this past Saturday by Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. It was my first time hearing the Mass in it's entirety and it was incredible! Such beautiful, wonderful music and singing. A bit long, but well worth it!

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Oratorios do differ from masses, and as far as I know, they don't necessarily have to be of religious thematic.

    While masses and requiems are fixed in movements or parts (a mass: Kyrie - Gloria - Credo - Sanctus - Benedictus - Agnus Dei), oratorios are quite free concerning that.

    Oratorios also have some big story in the background, unlike masses. In this way, they're somewhat alike to operas - but without the flash and virtuosity, and naturally, there's no scene nor acting.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    Member cato's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info Lisztfreak.

    It was a little confusing.

    And Givannimusica, what a great way of phraising your feelings about Bach's Mass In B Minor!

    You captured excatly how it makes me feel.... refreshed... like a waterfall.

    Yes, I listen to it just about every other day. What a great work of art!
    Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio.
    Home of The Cleveland Orchestra

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    Hi Cato,

    You're welcome, dear sir. Then there is Brahms *Ein Deutsches Requiem* - an excellent piece and on par with Bach imho. I don't listen to it everyday but that does not mean that I consider it any less than Bach. Ya know, I have a quite lopsided collection of CD's. It's based upon my favorite composers but there are a few *stragglers* in it too.

    By *straggler* I mean music by a certain composer who I otherwise don't consider very great but the recorded work is quite interesting. A music collection is built up over time. Of course, there are people with more money than brains, those who will buy every CD of all composers from Jakob Handl to Morten Lauridsen and then some and probably have an *intravenous feed-tube* of those recordings that the major classical music magazines have reviewed.

    Ok, I hope they're happy but they'll most likely never get to hear all that what they have purchased. Personally, I just have a few composers but because they each represent a certain period and style, I can then appreciate other composers and their works. Yes, there are many composers whose works I'll never hear or perform. But those who I do perform or hear I shall let them be a part of me.

    So, get cracking on the performing repertoire and the listening repertoire because it's gonna be with ya in Eternity. That which you have let become a part of your heart, soul, mind, body and spirit - yes, all that will be with you in Eternity. Be of good cheer, do good works and Love while you still can Love.


    Regards!

    Giovanni

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    Member cato's Avatar
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    It's funny you listed Brahms Requiem, because I had not heard it untill a few weeks ago, and I'm planing on buying it this week. The only "problem", if you can call it that, is that I'm going to spend a few hours in the CD section of Barnes & Noble, scaning about 15 different versions of this work under their laser scaner, and seeing which version I like best.

    I noticed that there were even "peroid" versions of this work.

    Which do you like best? Period, or modern versions?

    Which CD of this work do you have?

    When I heard it for the first time a few weeks ago, I have to agree, it is a wonderful work on par with Bach's Mass in B minor.
    Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio.
    Home of The Cleveland Orchestra

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