The Virtuoso Handel
- CDR 90000 057
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Experience a side of Handel that's rarely heard these days: exquisitely refined vocal and instrumental chamber music, including three cantatas from his early years in Italy. On The Virtuoso Handel, you'll encounter the type of intimate music making that small, privileged audiences of discerning connoisseurs enjoyed during Handel's sojourn in Rome from 1706 to 1709.
Italy at the start of the 18th century was obsessed with singing. It is in this vocally-infused spirit that The Virtuoso Handel was conceived.
The Chicago Baroque Ensemble and soprano Patrice Michaels previously collaborated on Cedille's acclaimed A Vivaldi Concert ("A stellar level of artistry." - Cleveland Plain Dealer) and The World of Lully ("All this virtuosity invites repeated listening." - Early Music America). Here they perform secular cantatas on themes of romantic love, history, and mythology, including the dramatic and harrowing La Lucrezia. These challenging pieces showcase Ms. Michaels' silvery voice, lively interpretations, and exceptional mastery of florid Baroque passagework and ornamentation.
Also included are instrumental arrangements of arias from three of Handel's Italian operas: two for flute and strings, with irresistible "coloratura" playing on the transverse flute, and one for solo harpsichord. Completing the program is a charming Sonata in C Major for viola da gamba and harpsichord, which casts both players in virtuoso roles.
Participating on this recording are Chicago Baroque Ensemble members Anita Miller-Rieder, transverse flute; Jeri-Lou Zike, violin; Susan Rozendaal, viola; John Mark Rozendaal, viola da gamba and cello; and David Schrader, harpsichord.