The Handel Institute
The Handel Institute

The International Handel Recording Prize 2003

Choice of Hercules

The Choice of Hercules (HWV 69)

Pleasure: Susan Gritton
Virtue: Alice Coote
Hercules: Robin Blaze
An Attendant on Pleasure: Charles Daniels

The Choir of The King’s Consort
The King’s Consort (on period instruments)
Conductor: Robert King
Hyperion CDA67298

(Read the Review)

The International Handel Recording Prize is delighted to congratulate Hyperion upon the award of first prize for its recording of Handel's hitherto neglected The Choice of Hercules. We congratulate the excellent cast of singers, The King's Consort, Robert King, and Hyperion for making such a fine, distinguished, and desperately needed recording.

Prior to this recording there were only two old and inadequate versions of The Choice of Hercules despite it being a significant work composed towards the end Handel's distinguished career. Therefore Robert King's performance of The Choice of Hercules is a special and long-awaited contribution to the Handelian discography, and it has brought a previously under-appreciated major work to the attention of many Handel lovers.

We particularly wish to acknowledge Robert King's judicious choice of tempos, attractive melodic phrasing, and for his careful attention to aspects beyond the solo singing (such as the sympathetic management of Handel's orchestral and choral writing). The panel also wishes to make special mention of tenor Charles Daniels, who, despite being cast in a minor role, deserves particular praise for his historically-informed and elegant singing. The panel also acknowledges that this superb issue is completed by an excellent essay by Handel scholar Anthony Hicks.

We also wish to commend this year's runner-up. We could not ignore the fabulous quality of 'Love Duets' by Suzie LeBlanc, Daniel Taylor, Arion, and Stephen Stubbs. (Read the review.) It is highly unusual for a recital disc to gain so many votes from our specialist panel, not least because 'Love Duets' features so many popular arias that have been so frequently recorded. Yet, in light of the exquisite musicianship featured on this refreshing disc, we congratulate the performers and ATMA Classique, and earnestly hope that they will turn their attention to some substantial Handel recording projects.

What is The International Handel Recording Prize?

The annual International Handel Recording Prize is awarded to one distinctive new recording of Handel's music. The winner is carefully selected from a comprehensive list of all new recordings of Handel's music released during the previous calendar. The winner must satisfy tough criteria: it needs to combine fine interpretive quality with a penetrating or valuable insight into Handel's genius. Thus this Prize is an indication of a disc's quality and its contribution to Handelian knowledge.

The panel of judges constitutes respected Handel musicologists and journalists who can discern those recordings of Handel's music that make valuable contributions to the discography. The International Handel Recording Prize has unparalleled integrity. Unlike such prizes awarded solely by scholars, or only by critics, our panel comfortably blends those commonly opposed perspectives. Furthermore, this is not a financial prize, but purely idealistic: this prize is an indication of a genuinely special recording, and is designed to encourage unique and supportive recognition from a cross-section of those who care most about the music itself.

This Year's Panel of Judges:

Philippe Gelinaud (Handel scholar, journalist)
Brad Leissa (American Handel Society, founder
Michael Pacholke (Hallische Händel-Ausgabe; Georg-Friedrich-Händel-Gesellschaft, Halle)
Benedikt Poensgen (Göttingen Handel Festival; Göttinger Händel-Gesellschaft)
Stanley Sadie (Handel Institute; New Grove Dictionary of Music; critic)
David Vickers (Handel scholar; critic; co-producer
Carlo Vitali (baroque music scholar; radio author; journalist)

The Candidate List

(in no particular order)


Theatre Works:

The Choice of Hercules
Gritton (soprano), Coote (mezzo-soprano), Blaze (countertenor), C. Daniels (tenor). The King’s Consort, Robert King. Hyperion.

Otter (mezzo-soprano), Dawson (soprano), Saks (bass), Croft (tenor), Daniels (countertenor). Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski. DG Archiv.

Macliver (soprano), et al. Cantillation, Orchestra of the Antipodes, Antony Walker. ABC Classics.

Bacelli (alto), Randle (tenor), Pushee (countertenor), Norberg-Schulz (soprano), Bonatatibus (mezzo-soprano), Abete (bass). The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock. Avie.


Choral Works:

Dettingen Te Deum
Collegium Vocale des Bach-Chores Siegen, Hannoversche Hofkapelle, Trompeten-Consort "Friedemann Immer", Ulrich Stötzel. Hännsler.

Coronation Anthems / Silete venti
Rebecca Ryan (soprano), Tallis Chamber Choir. Royal Academy Consort, Jeremy Summerly. Naxos.


Vocal Works:

Apollo e Dafne
[and also “Crudel tiranno amor”]
Salomé Haller (soprano) Jérôme Correas (baritone-bass), Les Paladins. Arion

Arcadian Duets
“Ahi, nelle sorte umane”; “No, di voi non vuo fidarmi”; “Caro autor di mia doglia”; “Quel fior che all'alba ride”; “Conservate, raddoppiate”; “Tanti strali al sen mi scocchi”; “Va, speme infida”; “A miravi io son intento”; “Sono liete, fortunate”. Le Concert d'Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm. Virgin Veritas.

Handel Arias
David Hobson (tenor), Sinfonia Australis, Antony Walker. ABC Classics.

Handel Arias
Emma Matthews (soprano), New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, Donald Armstrong. ArtWorks.

Handel Love Duets
”Scherzano sul tuo volto”, “Cara sposa”, “Lascia ch'io pianga”; Ouverture (HWV 337); Tolomeo “Se il cor ti perde”; Rodelinda “Io t'abbraccio”, “Ombre, piante”; Giulio Cesare in Egitto “Caro! bella!”, “Da tempeste”, Ouverture; Serse “Ombra mai fu”. Suzie LeBlanc (soprano), Daniel Taylor (countertenor), Arion, Stephen Stubbs. ATMA Classique.

Handel Oratorio Arias
“Destructive War”, “Oh sacred oracles of Truth”; Semele “Despair no more shall wound me”, “Your tuneful voice”; Theodora “The raptured soul”, “Deeds of kindness”, “Kind Heaven”, “Sweet rose an lily”; Saul “Brave Jonathan”, “O Lord, whose mercies numberless”; Jephtha “Up the dreadful steep ascending”, “Dull delay”; Messiah “He was despised”. David Daniels (countertenor). Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, John Nelson. Virgin Classics

Italian Cantatas
“Son gelsomino”; “Figli del mesto cor”; “Dolc' è pur d'amor l'affanno”; “Clori, degli occhi miei”; “Ho fuggito Amore anch'io”; “Irene, idolo mio”; La Solitude, or "L'aure grate, il fresco rio"; “Nel dolce tempo”. Jeffrey Gall (countertenor), David Schrader (harpsichord), John Mark Rozendaal (viola da gamba). Centaur

Italian Cantatas & Other Works
“Mi palpita il cor”; Suite in E major for harpsichord (1720); “Irene, idolo mio”;  Sonata in D major for flute and continuo; “Lungi da me, pensier tiranno!”; Harpsichord Piece - Air in the Water Music; “Fra pensieri quel pensiero”. Nicole Lemieux (soprano), Luc Beausejour (bass). Analekta


Orchestral / Instrumental:

Harpsichord Works Volume 3
Suite de pièce in F sharp minor, Vol 1 No 6; Suite de pièce in G minor, Vol 1 No 7; Suite de pièce in F minor, Vol 1 No 8; Suite de pièce in B flat major, Vol 2 No 7; Suite de pièce in G major, Vol 2 No 8; Preludio from Suite de pièce in G major, Vol 2 No 9. Sophie Yates (harpsichord). Chandos Chaconne.

Handel and the Oratorio for Concerts
Simon Standage (violin), Anthony Robson (oboe), Collegium Musicum 90. Chandos Chaconne.


Special Category:

Junge Kantorei, Frankfurt Barockorchester, Joachim Carlos Martini. Naxos.

Handel vs Scarlatti, Rome 1709
Luca Guglielmi (harpsichord & the Luca Blasi organ, Basilica of San Giovanni Laterano, Rome), Stradivarius.

Händel in London - Works for Organ
Inc. 8 tunes for Mr. Clay's musical clock; Pieces for a musical clock; 2 Voluntaries; various 18th century organ arrangements of oratorio and choral works. Johannes Geffert (Byfield organ in the parish of St. Mary's, Rotherhithe, London), Querstand.

The International Handel Recording Prize was inspired by The American Handel Society's Recording Prize. The AHS Recording Prize was awarded on an annual basis between 1991-1998.

Unless explicitly specified otherwise, this page and all other pages at this site are Copyright © 2015 by David Vickers and Matthew Gardner credits

Last updated: August 30, 2020  · Site design: Duncan Fielden, Matthew Gardner and David Vickers