Handel's Joshua. Original version of 1748

SOMMCD 240-2

London Handel Singers
London Handel Orchestra
Laurence Cummings condutor

Allan Clayton tenor
Katherine Manley soprano
Alexandra Gibson mezzo soprano
George Humphreys bass

Produced by Siva Oke, Director of SOMM

The oratorio is based on the Biblical stories of Joshua, who led the Israelites as they took possession of the ‘promised land’ of Canaan and attacked Jericho. Interwoven in the story of military conquest is the love story between the young Israelite captain Othniel and Calab’s daughter Achsah. In the final scene, the Israelites triumph and praise Joshua, and Othniel is proclaimed worthy of marrying Achsah.

This is the first ever recording of the complete oratorio in its original form premiered at Covent Garden in 1748. Despite his failing sight, Handel revised Achsah’s aria ‘Hark! ‘tis the linnet and the thrush’ for the revival of the oratorio in 1752. Chrysander’s edition recorded the revision in an incorrect version and, although the error was been pointed out in 1995, it continues in use. In this performance the aria’s original version was restored.


One of the Festival’s finest hours.
Hilary Finch, The Times

[Clayton is] “a tenor rapidly making a name for himself, who was suitably heroic in the title role, but always attractive of tone and eloquent of expression.”
Barry Millington, The Evening Standard


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