Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS



George Frideric HANDEL (1685Ė1759)
Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (1707) [133.03]
La Bellezza - Deborah York (soprano)
Il Piacere Ė Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano)
Il Disinganno Ė Sara Mingardo (alto)
Il Tempo Ė Nicholas Sears (tenor)
Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini
rec. September 2000, Villa Mondragone, Monteporzio Catone, Italy
NAŌVE OP30440 [61.21 + 71.39] 


Handelís Italian oratorio seems to offer a great deal of fascination to continental-based ensembles presumably because the Italian texts make the works easier to perform well with non-Anglophone singers. But there are significant differences, between this work and the later oratorios. The later works use choruses and have quite strong narrative and moral elements. The English Oratorios were written for mainly English-trained singers whose style was expressive rather than virtuoso; in them the older Handel aimed for a new style. 

But Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno is young manís music, full of dazzling bravura elements and designed to be sung by some of the chief virtuosi of the day. Handelís Italian cantatas and oratorios have a commonality with his early Italian operas. In fact Handel mined his cantatas and Italian oratorios when writing his first operas in London. 

So we should expect bravura performances and virtuoso feats when listening to the music as well as da capo sections suitably ornamented. 

As regards plot, well there isnít any; at least not when compared to the English dramatic oratorios. The allegorical text was written by Cardinal Pamphili and it is more of a debate than an actual dramatic event. Beauty has sworn to be faithful to Pleasure but after much debate she is turned away from Pleasure by Time and Disillusionment - strictly non-Illusion, hence the role is usually referred to as Truth. Cardinal Pamphili had a good ear for melody and rhythm in his written Italian, but his plot is exceedingly thin and very repetitious. 

Luckily Handel clothed this in brilliant music. This was his first Italian oratorio and you would think it must have pleased both his Roman patrons and their audiences. But we know little about the workís first performance and it seems to have made little or no impression in the surviving record. Having mined the work for the operas Agrippina and Rinaldo Handel then let the piece sleep until 1737 when it was performed in London in a lengthened version, with chorus, called Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verita. Then finally, in 1757, the blind composer aided by John Christopher Smith re-worked the piece with a new English libretto by Thomas Morrell to become The Triumph of Truth and Time, the very last Handelian oratorio. 

The work requires virtuosity from all those concerned; not just the singers but the instrumentalists as well. It opens with a dazzling concerto grosso-type overture and from then on, the instrumentalists are required to contribute solos to many of the arias. 

One of the most notable episodes is the Sonata following the recitative Quest e la Reggia mia. Here Handel includes a solo for organ which effectively transforms the piece into an organ concerto. This also enables us to get a glimpse of Handelís astounding technique at the keyboard, with which he pleased and amazed his patrons. 

Rinaldo Alessandrini and his group attack the work with virtuosity, gusto and energy. Alessandriniís speeds are remarkably brisk. He manages to get through the piece in 133 minutes: faster than Mark Minkowski at 139 and Emmanuelle Haim at 146. But his players and singers cope admirably and for most of the time you feel caught up in the excitement. The work seems neither hurried nor rushed. Only occasionally did I wish that Alessandrini could profitably have lingered over some details. 

The two soprano soloists, Deborah York as Beauty and Gemma Bertagnolli as Pleasure have nicely differentiated voices. York is all hard brilliance, bright tone and good articulation. Bertagnolli, whilst as technically accomplished as York, has a softer, darker warmer sound as Pleasure. So that the vocal casting seems to work well with the type of characters portrayed. Sara Mingardo has a lovely dark-toned voice as Truth. Nicholas Sears as Time is attractive and stylish but perhaps not quite comfortable with some of Alessandriniís tempi. 

The performance is not without eccentricity - most notably the rather mannered playing in Lasci la Spina - better known in its later incarnation as Lascia chíio pianga. 

Overall, though, this performance is greater than the sum of its parts; each individual contributing to the wonderfully vivid effect. There are a number of other recordings of the work in the catalogue. The most recent is Emanuelle Haimís account, but David Vickers, in his Gramophone review described her account of the work as wilful with many of the da capo repeats marred by unstylish excesses. 

This 2001 account from Alessandrini was very well received in 2001. It is still extremely welcome now that it has been reissued and should be high on everyoneís list. If you are looking for an affordable and recommendable recording of Handelís first oratorio then look no further. You will not be disappointed by this lively and vivid account.

Robert Hugill 




Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.