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<<  -- 3 --  Robert Hugill    LIGHT AND SPRIGHTLY


Haïm's own orchestra and chorus supported her and the singers in an admirable fashion. From the first notes of the overture, you knew that they were fully responsive to her rather idiosyncratic conducting style. I prefer Haïm's Handel to that of her mentor, William Christie; with Haïm you are less aware of the ghost of the French baroque which can haunt Christie's Handel. But, Haïm does bring a fresh eye and ear to the music, and her account was lithe and lively, with wonderfully sprung rhythms.

Emmanuelle Haïm. Photo © 2002 Sasha Gusov/Virgin Classics
Emmanuelle Haïm. Photo © 2002 Sasha Gusov/Virgin Classics

The chorus were similarly responsive and articulated the music in a light and sprightly manner. There were moments, however, when I would have liked a more focussed intensity and sheer weight of choral sound. But this is an issue of style rather than musicality, and it might be my ears that needed retuning.

This was a long evening but an entrancing one, Haïm and her forces captured our hearts and our attention, and held them. Could I put in a plea for Handel's other late masterpiece, Jephtha, for next year?

Copyright © 19 October 2006 Robert Hugill, London UK





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