Artist of the Month - Dunedin Consort - Esther

This month's featured artist is Dunedin Consort.  Join us as we take a look back at Dunedin's previous Handel recording: Esther (2012). With contributions from director John Butt and producer Philip Hobbs these retrospectives will give you the story behind the recording and introduce you to some exceptional music.

Esther was designed as a companion piece to Acis & Galatea and chronicles the journey of the Israelites and their battle against the King's Priest who ordered the death of all Jewish people in the kingdom. The Oratorio ends with the Jewish people celebrating their victory.







‘...The Dunedin Consort perform as a tight and capable band and Butt once again has proved himself the master of dramatic pacing. Thoroughly recommended.'
Early Music Review

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Winner of 'Best Baroque Vocal Album' ICMA Awards 2013

'a two-voices-to-a-part chorus achieves more immediacy than a larger choir, coupled with a stylish and delightfully intimate band.'
BBC Music Magazine

*

Named one of 'The Best Classical albums of 2012'
The Times  

*

'So much in Butt's carefully prepared performance feels exactly right'
Gramophone

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'We need this thrilling recording...The sound on this is wonderful.'
BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'






Facts about the recording: Esther entered the UK Specialist Classical Chart at number seven after its first week of release.

Inside the studio with producer Philip Hobbs: "Esther is an extremely hard piece to play but the Dunedins certainly stepped up to this challenge and I don't think there is a better recording of Esther around". 

When comparing Esther to Handel's other work, Hobbs stated that Esther is far more plot driven with a

biblical story and strong political undertones. Hobbs also mentions that despite the lovely tunes in Esther it hasn't been recorded as much as Handel's other pieces.  

Director John Butt's insider tip: "It has become increasingly clear that ‘The Oratorium' (as it was initially called) went through two versions between 1718 and 1720 and until this recording there had been no official "1720" edition of this work. What I have done here is create a "recoverable" edition from the earliest sources possible."


5 star SA-CD.net

4 star BBC Music Magazine

4 star Audiophile Audition

4 star AllMusic.com

4 star The Guardian

4 star The Times