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The sweet smell of success

G.F.Handel Ombra mai fu

Andreas Scholl
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Andreas Scholl on HMC 901685

The vibrant quality of the head register of natural counter-tenors is a celebrated sound, musical and capable of emotion and high drama.

Andreas Scholl, a young German singer on the crest of a wave from the supreme quality of his voice and the impact he's made, has the advantage here of a programme arranged to surround his seven operatic arias with instrumental movements from the operas.

It so happens that the aria of the record's title - in other words, Handel's Largo - in the context of an authentic performance is so sweet and simple as to show up the bathos that has desecrated it for years. For genuine brilliance turn to Va tacito from 'Giulio Cesare'. The wickedly difficult yet delicious horn obbligato twists and turns with the voice in acrobatic display. On the other hand, for extreme delicacy listen to Dove sei from 'Rinaldo'.

As early music groups go, the Berlin Academy's precision and unanimity tempered with musical 'give and take' is a joy. Thus the record's expected quality is realised, and the imaginative mix of instrumental and vocal excerpts from Handel's operas gives a superlative edge to the undertaking.

Copyright © Basil Ramsey, March 11th 1999


G.F.Handel: 'Ombra mai fu'
Arias from Giulio Cesare, Admeto,
Radmisto, Rodelinda, Serse, Alcina

Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor)
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

harmonia mundi    HMC 901685

DDD                            Playing time: 76m

Recorded October 1998
in the Christuskirche, Berlin-Oberschöneweide, Germany


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