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Early Music Today (12 / 2012)

Hyperion 67842




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Reviewer: Adrian Horsewood 


Bass roles in Handel’s operas have long been saddled with a reputation for being rather one-dimensional characters, being either blustering, scheming villains or doddery old paternal figures who dispense sage advice. This CD, according to David Vickers’s booklet note, ‘is designed to explore how Handel’s bass arias for different sorts of dramatic and literary contexts are superb musically, contrasting stylistically and insightful emotionally’, and Christopher Purves gives us masterful, dazzling and powerful performances of scenes from 15 of the composer’s dramatic works, lithely and splendidly supported by up-and-coming ensemble Arcangelo and conductor Jonathan Cohen. In short, this is the most outstanding album of its kind I’ve ever heard from any singer, better by far than Ildebrando D’Arcangelo’s recent unidiomatic and leaden recording of Handel’s Italian arias.



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