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A new recording of
Handel's 'Rinaldo' -
reviewed by

'... a performance of vitality and appropriate style ...'

Haendel: Rinaldo. Freiburger Barockorchester - René Jacobs. © 2003 harmonia mundi

When Handel came north from Italy in early 1710, it was via Innsbruck. It would be pleasant to think he entered the Hofkirche and saw the magnificent array of statues surrounding the mausoleum of Maximilian I, among which was Godfrey of Bouillon, crowned with thorns as liberator from Islam of the Holy Sepulchre. Gibbon offers little congratulation: 'A bloody sacrifice was offered by his mistaken votaries to the God of the Christians: resistance might provoke, but neither age nor sex could mollify, their implacable rage: they indulged themselves three days in a promiscuous massacre.' Tasso in Gerusalemme liberata softened the crusaders with love interests and produced Armida with her enchanted garden to beguile Rinaldo and eventually marry him once she converted to Christianity. Handel had very sensibly been hired as Kapellmeister in Hanover by the future George I and was now in London determined on operatic success.

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Copyright © 18 June 2003 Robert Anderson, Egypt


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