The Occasional Oratorio, HMV62 / Susan Gritton & Lisa Milne, sopranos - James Bowman, contreténor - John Mark Ainsley, ténor - Michael George, basse - New College Choir, Oxford & The King's Consort Choir, The King's Consort, dir. Robert King
You'll find no stereotypical Biblical characters in The Occasional Oratorio
; there are no characters at all. This work is nothing but a blood- and-glory martial celebration Handel hastily threw together to raise London's spirits in a crisis. (The "occasion" was the English counterattack against Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion.) Handel composed almost no original music for this work, instead lifting choice bits from Judas Maccabeus, Comus, Athalia, Israel in Egypt
--he even closes the work with Zadok the Priest!
Handel aficionados will have great fun picking out which numbers originated where. In fact, pretty much everyone will have fun listening to this music (gloriously performed by Robert King and his regulars); it is--as it were--a blast. --Matthew Westphal