| SITE RATING: 2/10
A privately released LP, this live performance begins with
a spoken introduction reciting the familiar story of Handel's servant
telling the tale of discovering Handel in the process of writing,
sobbing and saying he did see "all the heavens" opened before him.
Apocryphal though this story is, it sets the correct tone for
this recording, which is fervent, grand, and yes, amateurish in the
worst sense of the word. The King's College Orchestra listed here
is NOT the famed London organization, but a more low-key collective who
have persistent intonation problems throughout. Tenor Robert
Straton is earnest, both is his performance, and his hammer-like
musicality; having a good tone, powerful, but lacking fluidity.
The Church of the Open Door Choir is frankly, terrible.
Their lack of sensitivity, their blunt, heavy singing, spread
vowels, and plain over-singing made their efforts drag down this
recording several notches. Soprano Barbara Shanno is pleasant,
having a sweet manner and tone which is a refreshing change of pace
from the orchestra and choral horrors which surround her.
Contralto Margaret Evans is similarly a bright spot, with a rich,
fervent voice, while bass George Burdett is also one of the bright
spots, powering through his arias with decent prowess. Good
soloists are the only reason to seek out this album, which is otherwise
hamstrung by achingly poor playing and frightening choral work.