Saturday, August 30, 2014

Video of the Week: Belshazzar's Feast

I sang with the Charlotte Oratorio Singers around 2001-2003.  By far, my favorite performance was that of Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast."  This 40-minute symphonic work tells the stories of the Jews being taken away captive by Belshazzar, king of Babylon.  This king made them into slaves, desecrated their holy artifacts, and had a large feast at their expense.  Then after the king sees the writing on the wall and is SLAIN, the Jews celebrate.

The music is unlike anything I had sung before -- powerful chords, exciting rhythms, and wonderful text painting.  Note around time 16:00 below how you can almost hear the different gods being praised: gold, silver, iron, wood, etc.

Amazing music.

Unfortunately, I can't find a recording of the Charlotte Symphony performance.  Here's a BBC recording with much pomp and drama, and a baritone with a vibrato wider than my garage.  There are better recordings on YouTube, but I think this video is the best available that captures the drama of the music.  Enjoy.

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