Belshazzar (HWV 61) is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel. The libretto was by Charles Jennens, and Handel abridged it considerably. Jennens' libretto was based on the Biblical account of the fall of Babylon at the hands of Cyrus the Great and the subsequent freeing of the Jewish nation, as found in the Book of Daniel.
Handel composed Belshazzar in the late Summer of 1744 concurrently with Hercules, during a time that Winton Dean calls "the peak of Handel's creative life".The work premiered the following Lenten season on 27 March 1745 at the King's Theatre, London.The work fell into neglect after Handel's death, with revivals of the work occurring in the United Kingdom in 1847, 1848 and 1873.With the revival of interest in Baroque music and historically informed musical performance since the 1960s, Belsahzzar receives performances in concert form today and is also sometimes fully staged as an opera.
Credit Väsen with the urge to keep their music fresh. This time around they entered the studio without much preparation, only brief rehearsals to familiarize themselves with the tunes – all originals for this outing. The arrangements they'd worked out were rudimentary at best. Instead, they chose to rely on spontaneity and an empathy built from years of playing to create an intricate sound. Recording live with just one or two takes for each tune, the group made a gamble that paid off in full. A single listen to a piece like "Glada Polsken" is evidence that they're all musicians of great technique and inspiration, able to weave lines around each other as if it had all been carefully worked out to the last note. And there's a palpable joy for them in walking this knife edge.
Deluxe three disc (two CDs + DVD) edition of this best-selling release from the Pop trio contains their Every Breath You Take single disc compilation plus a CD taped live in Atlanta, Georgia and the Every Breath You Take DVD, which contains video clips and other bonus features. Perhaps the ultimate collection for old and new fans alike, this three disc package shows the band at the height of their audio and video powers and contains hits like 'Roxanne', 'Can't Stand Losing You', 'Message in a Bottle', 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' and many more.
Mahalia Jackson rewrote the rules for singing gospel in the late '40s by bringing blues phrasing and other secular elements into sacred song, and with her powerful alto, she sang with an immediacy and conviction that are still startling when they break out of the speakers some 30 years after her death. This two-disc set collects tracks from Jackson's long stay at Columbia Records, as well as a few tracks from her previous label, Apollo Records, where she recorded from 1947 until signing with Columbia in 1954.
Nascente's Beginner's Guide series has offered excellent primers on a wealth of neglected genres – salsa, tango, Indian filmi music, Arabian music, and many more – so it shouldn't come as a surprise that their three-disc volume of gospel music is a success as well. What may be surprising, though, is that its primary achievement isn't to resurrect a brace of hoary old chestnuts (many of which have already been reissued) but to shine a light on gospel's relatively recent past, which has suffered more than the classic gospel of the '40s, '50s, and '60s.