Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:
|Appréciation d'ensemble / Overall evaluation :|
Reviewer: Richard Wigmore
restores rare Handel incidental music
The arias and choruses for assorted gods, muses, sirens and shades, plus instrumental numbers (among them an impressive, Gallic style Passacaille filched from the opera Radamisto), are in Handel’s most beguiling vein, sometimes with a distinct whiff of Purcell: say, in the voluptuously melancholy chorus ‘Thrice happy who in life excel’, and the tenor aria ‘Tune your harps’. Other highlights include the chic gavotte for soprano and chorus ‘Still caressing’ — first cousin to Semele’s ‘Endless pleasure’ — and the muse Calliope’s lulling ‘Gentle Morpheus’, exquisitely scored for four- part strings.
On this new recording Christian Curnyn and his
trim period band give full value to the music’s sensuous charm, phrasing
alluringly in the slower numbers and keeping the rhythms lithe and springy.
Bass-lines are always vitally shaped. The 12-strong chorus sings with youthful
freshness and the three soloists are ideally chosen. Andrew-Foster Williams is
incisive without bluster in Charon’s balefully cheerful ‘Ye fleeting shades’.
Benjamin Hulett is both mellifluous and athletic in his three arias, while Lucy
Crowe displays her nimble coloratura technique in tee frolicking ‘Come fancy’,
and brings a limpid purity of line in ‘Gentle Morpheus’. First-rate Chandos
sound and presentation, with a stimulating essay from David Vickers, complete an
hour of hedonistic Handelian delight.