SITE RATING: 2/10
REVIEW: Conductor Paul
Keuntz may have the financial wherewithall to
fund his own "vanity" chamber orchestra and
choir, but based on this recording, I'm not
going to go rushing out and discover more of
his recordings. Keuntz's tempos are all
over the map, and he gives odd emphasis to the
downbeats and closing moments of phrases; the
chorus is disunified, out of tune, and has
strong French accents which bludgeon Handel's
English to a painful degree; the soloists are
generally amateurish (including countertenor
Jean Nirouet's shrill, unpleasant tone), and
the chamber orchestra is out of tune and muffs
notes (including some obvious mis-steps by the
trumpeters during the "Hallelujah" chorus).
Tenor Alexander Stevenson feels the need
for pointless ornamentation, and soprano
Barbara Schlick posesses a bright, quick
vibrato which grated on my nerves.
Strong points include bass Phillip
Langshaw, (but even he goes notably out of
tune in his upper register); and the rare
moments when everything gels - but those
points are very few and far between.
This is an obviously low-budget affair,
most probably caught in a live performance,
with no time taken to fix pointed mistakes.
Avoid, avoid, avoid - unless you
absolutely need to hear a backwater French
ensemble butcher a baroque masterpiece.