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Russell Oberlin - Handel Arias (2007)

Classic | Author: SELMER | 27-03-2018, 09:44
Russell Oberlin - Handel Arias (2007)
Artist: Russell Oberlin
Title Of Album: Handel Arias
Year Of Release: 2007
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Country: US
Genre: Classical
Quality: APE (*image + .cue, log, scans)
Bitrate: Lossless
Time: 47:47 min
Full Size: 263 MB


1. But who may abide the day of his coming
2. How beautiful are the feet
3. Their land brought forth frogs
4. Thou shalt bring them In
5. Ah dolce nome!
6. Vivi, tiranno, io th'o scampato
7. Dove sei, amato bene
8. Ombra cara

Countertenor Russell Oberlin is slated to celebrate his 80th birthday in 2008. Oberlin is a native of Akron, OH, who, despite his birthdate, is a contemporary to falsetto countertenor Alfred Deller -- Oberlin also began his recording career right around 1950. Unlike Deller, countertenor is Oberlin's true range, and unlike Deller, he did not stick around to make recordings when his voice was past its prime; in the mid-'60s Oberlin quit singing and went into education. While Oberlin is not quite forgotten, relatively few plaudits and reissues have come his way. Some of his Lyrichord and Esoteric performances have been reissued on either Lyrichord or VAI CDs. However, Oberlin's small but devoted cadre of fans certainly never expected to see his Decca Gold Label LPs, arguably his best and certainly the best recorded of his efforts, to come around again. "Impossible," they would say, "that is never going to happen."
Well, with Russell Oberlin Handel Arias, an entry in the digi-packed "Spotlight" series from Deutsche Grammophon, the impossible has happened. Here is Oberlin's first, 1959 Decca Gold Label LP, on CD and in great sound. Listening to it 50 years after it was recorded, it is interesting to note how the small orchestra backing Oberlin sounds like a standard period instrument group of the twenty-first century. A little more vibrato in the violins is present than would be in most groups today, but not much more. This was in a period where, outside of the two arias chosen from Messiah, practically all of this material was unknown -- perhaps Oberlin was the only singer in the world in 1959 to realize what a nice idea it would be to record an album devoted only to Handel arias. Look at how many there have been since then! Nevertheless, the element that matters most is the voice, and in this department Oberlin had no peer in his day -- the voice is strong, creamy, beautifully pitched, and in every way male. When Alfred Deller was at his worst, he sounded like a little old lady; never Russell Oberlin, the he-man's countertenor if there ever was one.
Obviously, Oberlin's fans should not, and likely will not, wait to pick up Russell Oberlin Handel Arias. Those who are fond of somewhat younger countertenors such as Andreas Scholl and Philippe Jaroussky should seriously try Russell Oberlin Handel Arias; they will find much to enjoy here. Apart from all that, it is heartening to see Deutsche Grammophon get around to issuing this while the great man still lives; perhaps his missing reputation might be found still yet. -- Uncle Dave Lewis

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