Georg Friedrich Händel
I haven’t written that much about Händel yet.
My index (you can find all blog post in relation to any composer on the right, or just do a free text search) shows only 3 articles. Namely, his opera Rinaldo, Christie’s exciting album about Music For Queen Caroline, and, obviously, the Messiah.
This may indicate a lack of interest. Well actually, not at all, Händel is my second favorite baroque composer (JSB takes first place by a large margin).
My “problem” with Händel is that his true masterworks are his operas and oratorios, all of which are quite long, and require quite a long attention span, and time that I don’t always have.
But then again, there truly are pieces that are worth checking out.
Let me write about one of the first I really fell in love with.
Händel: Il Trionfo Del Tempo E Del Disinganno – Emmanuelle Haïm, Il Concert D’Astrée (Erato 2007)
Il Trionfo Del Tempo E Del Disinganno was Händels very first Oratorio.
I’m not sure you really care about the story. I do speak some Italian and am able to follow, but honestly, like with many of the rather confusing stories (to me) of the baroque operas, you basically have personified Beauty, Pleasure, Time and however you best translate disinganno (probably somewhat around “disillusion”) about their relative merits. The story ends with beauty being frustrated and wanting to become a nun.
So in a nutshell, never mind the story, but just enjoy the outstandingly beautiful music.
Emmanuelle Haïm & Le Concert d’Astrée
Who is playing here?
Emmanuelle Haïm, a French cembalo player, has established herself as one of the leading conductors of baroque music over the last 15 years. She had some great mentors having worked with William Christie and even Simon Rattle. She founded her own baroque ensemble, Le Concert d’Astrée, in 2000. I’ve already written about her outstanding Messiah, and a very beautiful Mozart c-minor mass with Louis Langrée and the same ensemble.
But obviously, an oratorio not only needs outstanding orchestral playing, but also beautiful voices. Nathalie Dessay is truly one of the best baroque singers ever, and Ann Hallenberg and Sonia Prina are of outstanding beauty as well.
One track to look out for is Lascia La Spina, the original version of Lascia ch’io pianga, already mentioned in my post Top 10 Music That Gives Me Goose Bumps.
Again, as mentioned above, you are in for nearly 2h30 of music here, but it is worth taking the time for it.
My review: 4 stars
You can find it here (Prestoclassical)