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Cat. No. CHAN 0620 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0620 - Handel: Italian Cantatas
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Handel: Italian Cantatas

This attractive selection of Handel’s cantatas and trio sonatas makes a satisfying programme of some of Handel’s finest and most attractive music.

The Purcell Quartet is one of the finest baroque quartets today and their many recordings on Chandos have received excellent critical acclaim. They are joined on this album by several distinguished soloists.

Nearly all of Handel’s cantatas were composed during his years in Italy, mainly for concerts at the homes of his various patrons, where (as his first biographer put it) he was ’desired to furnish his quota’ of such pieces. They were popular in Rome, where opera was forbidden at the time. Most are written simply for voice and continuo but there are more than twenty, no doubt intended for larger-scale occasions, that call for additional instruments; both the cantatas recorded here come into that category. Tra le fiamme was composed around the spring of 1708 and, though a typical mixture of recitative and aria, it contains some exceptionally colourful instrumentation and is certainly operatic in style. Notte placida e cheta dates from the same year and is similarly full of imaginative touches, including one aria composed in a fugal style, the voice taking the role in the contrapuntal interplay with the two violins and the continuo group - a magical piece of writing. The trio sonatas here are a rich mixture of slow and fast movements, all of great character and all different, providing the perfect foil to the cantatas.

Reviews

"...both for its terms of overall programming and for the sheer beauty of the performances, this new entry on Chandos’s Chaconne label takes its place immediately as a top recommendation."
Bernard Jacobson - Fanfare - November/December 1998

"...Admirers of Catherine Bott will require no urging to grab the new Chandos disc, which offers her in two wonderful performances- remarkable emotional commitment in beautiful singing..."
Barker - American Record Guide - November/December 1998

"... the most appealing performances I can remember of these works."
SS - Gramophone - Awards Issue 1998

"... The whole disc is full of polished music-making ..."
Antony Hodgson - Hi-Fi News - October 1998

"...Handel’s trio sonataas are simply gems of Baroque chamber music, these three are played here with great clarity and vitality by the Purcell Quartet."
The Examiner - 15 July 1998

                            Performance *****          Sound *****
"...the music has a ready appeal, and the purcell Quartet plays it superbly."
Graham Lock - BBC Music magazine - August 1998

 

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