Magazine article Gramophone

Handel: 'Cantate O3'

Magazine article Gramophone

Handel: 'Cantate O3'

Article excerpt

Handel 'Cantate O3' Ah, che pur troppo e vero, HWV177. Alpestre monte, HWV81. Chi rapi la pace al core, HWV90. Figlio d'alte speranze, HWV113. Non sospirar, non piangere, HWV141. Pensieri notturni di Filli, HWV134 Beatrice Palumbo sop Contrasto Armonico / Marco Vitale Ayros (F) AYHC03 (63' * DDD * T/t)

Contrasto Armonico's slow-burning Handel cantatas project explores oftenperformed Italian cantate con stromenti in context alongside neglected chamber cantatas for only solo voice accompanied by basso continuo. The third instalment since Marco Vitale set up his own independent label is the seventh volume overall (the first four volumes were issued by Brilliant Classics), and it presents six different soprano cantatas written for unknown circumstances somewhere in Italy sometime between late 1706 and 1709.

Ellen Harris's perceptive essay suggests that Alpestre monte might have been composed in either Florence or Venice in about 1709. The inconvenient truth is that nobody really knows. Beatrice Palumbo sings with a slightly uneven flutter that nonetheless conveys an appealing emotional vulnerability and poetic sincerity, in dialogue with two violin parts shaded fluently by Enrique Gomez-Cabrero Fernandez and Marzeno Biwo. Its opening accompanied recitative describing wild alpine mountains and forests mirroring an unrequited young man's despair, the first lament containing expressive chromatic dissonances and the sorrowful closing aria conveying hopelessness amid overlapping contrapuntal violins are all interpreted with expressive sensitivity. …

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