Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


REVIEW

Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS


George Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759)
Arias
Rolando Villazon (tenor)
Gabrieli Players/Paul McCreesh
rec. All Saints’, Tooting, April – May 2008
Sung texts and English, German and French translations enclosed
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8056 [59:26]
Experience Classicsonline


Tamerlano
1. Ciel e terra armi di sdegno (Bajazet, act I) [3:22]
Rodelinda, regina de’ Longobardi
2. Fatto inferno è il mio petto (Grimoaldo, act III) [2:45]
3. Pastorello d’un povero armento (Grimoaldo, act III) [4:46]
Serse
4. Frondi tenere e belle (Serse, act I) [0:42]
5. Ombra mai fu (Serse, act I) [2:42]
6. Più che penso alle fiamme del core (Serse, act I)[6:52]
7. Crude furie degl’orridi abissi (Serse, act III) [3:42]
Ariodante
8. Scherza, infida, in grembo al drudo! (Ariodante, act II) [9:44]
9. Dopo notte atra e funesta (Ariodante, act III) [6:42]
Tamerlano
10. Oh, per me lieto, avventuroso giorno! (Bajazet, Tamerlano) … Fremi, minaccia … No, vo’ seguirti anch’io (Bajazet, Asteria) … O sempre avversi dei! (Bajazet) (act III) [3:43]
with Rebecca Bottone (Asteria), Jean Gadoullet (Tamerlano)
11. Figlia mia, non pianger (Bajazet, act III) [2:08]
12. Tu, spietato, il vedrai (Bajazet, act III) [3:25]
La Resurrezione
13. Così la tortorella (San Giovanni) [4:19]
14. Caro figlio! (San Giovanni) [4:34]

 

A couple of years ago Rolando Villazon surprised his many admirers by appearing in a recording of Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. That seemed a gigantic leap in time and performing style for a singer so far known for his singing of the French and Italian repertoire of the 19th and early 20th century. I have only heard an excerpt from that recording but my colleague Robert Hugill had some serious reservations even though he also found things to admire (see review). When he tackles a number of Handel arias he is a full century closer in time but stylistically this music is worlds distant from Gounod, Verdi and Puccini.

As on the Monteverdi disc he has again allied himself with a period performance group, this time Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Players. Their lean sound has clearly affected his approach, though he can hardly be mistaken for a baroque specialist. That said – and I don’t see much wrong with a star singer applying the power and intensity of later époques to this repertoire – there is a lot of marvellous singing here.

One obvious problem with a recital like this is that Handel’s tenor arias are rarely among his best. Thus Villazon has also included some alto arias and transposed them – a step that Handel probably wouldn’t have minded.

Bajazet in Tamerlano is a tenor and this is certainly top drawer music. Villazon sings the first act aria Ciel e terra with admirable verve and intensity. He displays a virtuosity in the florid passages that is unique for a tenor who normally sings Rodolfo and Des Grieux. It is true that Villazon also in his normal repertoire has a lightness that makes him stand out but here he has lightened the tone further while retaining his sense of drama. Grimoaldo’s aria from Rodelinda is also lyrical and Villazon embellishes the second verse, as he does in other arias. He also sports a trill that is impeccable.

The famous ‘largo’ from Serse – in fact Handel’s tempo marking is ‘larghetto’ – has been heard by all voice-types and instruments. Just hours before I listened to Villazon I had heard Franco Corelli turn Ombra mai fu into a verismo aria – glorious but wayward.  Villazon sings this opening aria with an inward sensibility and does so beautifully. But we also get Più che penso from the same act and Crude furie from act III. These show us Serse in livelier mood and Villazon executes the advanced embellishments with rhythmic verve and easy voice production. The third act aria is truly virtuosic and possibly the most impressive thing on this recital.

Ariodante’s beautiful second act aria Scherza, infida shows Villazon’s flexibility and ability to nuance his singing. In the well known Dopo notte his effortless coloratura is amazing.

Returning to Tamerlano and the third act, Bajazet’s death scene, we find Handel at his most dramatic and expressive in the changes between secco and accompagnato recitatives. Then comes the arioso Figlia mia, sung with exquisite half-voice, followed by the dramatic recitative Tu, spietato. This is a scene that is far ahead of its time in psychological credibility. Jean Gadoullet is heard briefly as Tamerlano and Rebecca Bottone is a fine Asteria, the daughter of Bajazet.

The final two arias are something quite different. They are from the sacred oratorio La resurrezione, written while Handel was in Rome and premiered on Easter Sunday 1708. In other words this is music by the young Handel. The music is rather idyllic but as with almost everything Handel wrote it has a personal stamp. Caro figlio has a passacaglia-like bass line and the aria is extremely beautifully sung.

I suspect that not every baroque music-lover will go into a trance when hearing this but I believe that there are quite a number of non-baroque lovers for whom this disc will be an ear-opener, revealing the riches of the baroque repertoire. Both categories should also be aware of the presence of the Gabrieli Players, certainly one of the very best period instrument groups. I would go so far as to say that there is even some cross-fertilisation between singer and musicians, to the advantage of both. This is in a way as much cross-over as confrontations between popular and classical music. As such the disc should also be heard.

Göran Forsling

 

 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

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

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.