“Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet”
It’s not often that I get to record the title role in a Handel oratorio and the 25th October sees the release of the recording of Handel’s, Samson, by the Dunedin Consort under John Butt. You’ll be able to get hold of it from Linn Records, all the usual music outlets and all good record stores - if there are any record stores still left!
At the time of its first performance in 1743, Samson was as popular a work as Messiah and it’s not difficult to see why that should be. The role of Samson in this great work is a real gift to a tenor. It contains such a variety of music and Handel, of course aided his librettists Hamilton and Milton, does a typically fine job of characterising the role. Just as in his operas, Handel draws a figure full of depth, and gives to him the finest of material to allow him to sing through the transformation of his persona from anger and despair to trust and hope. The most famous aria, Total Eclipse in which the now sightless Samson speaks of his despair at his blindness – both physical and spiritual, with such pathos has a wonderful counterpart in the florid fulminations of Why does the God of Israel Sleep and the role ends with a sense of repose and a firm future hope in the honeyed Thus When the Sun with a whole lot of exceptional music between. Having heard the edits, this should be a fantastic disc. Grab one wherever you can!