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Impressive Refinement

Handel Italian cantatas
performed by Arcadia,
and reviewed by

Tall Poppies    TP173

Handel - Italian Cantatas. Arcadia, directed by Jacqueline Ogeil. © 2004 Tall Poppies Records

Three fine voices and an ensemble of impressive refinement create a programme of less familiar pieces composed by Handel in the first decade of the 18th century when he was resident in Italy supported by aristocratic families in Venice, Rome and Naples. In these Cantatas we hear Handel very much as the operatic composer, with a dramatic range technically the envy of many. The soprano works were written for Margherita Durastanti who, as one among the highest paid singers in Europe, was brought much later to London to sing with Handel's company.

The Cantatas on this CD are Tu fedel? tu costante? for soprano, sung by the clear and agile Miriam Allan [listen -- track 9, 0:00-0:24]; the two bass Cantatas, Spande ancor a mio dispetto and Cuopre tal volt ail cielo [listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:33] with the resonant and smooth voice of Michael Leighton Jones; and Mi palpita il cor with the countertenor Christopher Field and a mellow baroque flute [listen -- track 16, 0:00-1:02].

The only Cantata in which Handel brought soprano and alto together was Amarilli vezzosa which makes an attractive end to a lovely programme [listen -- track 32, 0:55-1:24]. The ensemble Accademia Arcadia, simply known as Arcadia, is Australia's first ensemble to specialise in the performance of sacred and secular cantatas of the Baroque, and has already made an impressive début with Buxtehude cantatas for this label.

Copyright © 15 April 2006 Patric Standford, West Yorkshire, UK


Handel - Italian Cantatas - Arcadia

TP173 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 70'35" 2004 Tall Poppies Records

Arcadia: Miriam Allan, soprano; Christopher Fifield, alto; Michael Leighton Jones, bass; Catherine Shugg, baroque violin; Nicole Forsyth, baroque violin; Robin Hillier, baroque flute; Rosanne Hunt, cello; Samantha Cohen, theorbo; Jacqueline Ogeil, harpsichord and director

Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759): Cuopre tal volta il cielo HWV98; Tu fedel? tu costante? HWV171; Mi palpita il cor HWV132c; Spande ancor a mio dispetto HWV165; Amarilli vezzosa (Il duello amoroso) HWV82


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