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 App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



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
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
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 - 1759)
Suite in B flat (HWV 352) [03:33]
Suite in G (HWV 353) [03:46]
Apollo e Dafne (HWV 122) [39:35]
Concerto grosso in a minor, op. 6,4 (HWV 322) [10:46]
Myrsini Margariti (soprano), Nikolay Borchev (baritone)
Händelfestspielorchester/Bernhard Forck
rec. September 2009, Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany. DDD
AVI-MUSIC 8553200 [57:43]

Experience Classicsonline


During his stay in Italy Handel contributed to some of the most popular musical genres of his time. Among them was the cantata. Thousands of such works were written in the decades around 1700. The main composer in this genre was Alessandro Scarlatti. His contributions, usually consisting of two pairs of recitatives and arias, became the standard. Handel also composed a large number of such cantatas.
 
Because of their subject matter and their theatrical character the chamber cantatas - mostly scored for solo voice and basso continuo - were close to opera. Quite apart from these there were more elaborate compositions in which several voices were supported by an orchestra. Even more than the chamber cantatas such works can be considered pocket-size operas. Handel's cantata Apollo e Dafne belongs to this category.
 
Handel probably started composing the cantata in Venice in 1709, but completed it in Hanover in 1710, when he took up his job as Kapellmeister to the Elector. The first performance seems to have taken place in February 1711 in London, on the occasion of the birthday of Queen Anne. She was enthusiastic about Handel's cantata, and so was the court chronicler who described it as "a fine consort, being a Dialogue in Italian, in Her Majesty's Praise, set to excellent Musick by the famous Mr. Hendel".
 
The cantata is for two soloists, representing Dafne (soprano) and Apollo (bass) respectively, with an orchestra of transverse flute, two oboes, bassoon, strings and basso continuo. The work consists of the usual sequence of recitatives and arias, and a couple of duets. In his operas Handel proves to be a master of the musical depiction of characters. This cantata is an early example of his skills in this department. Right from the start Apollo shows his true colours by boasting about his power which even Cupid can't surpass. That is a mistake as he falls in love with Dafne the moment he sees her. She resists his advances, but when he starts to stalk her she escapes by turning herself into a laurel tree. In the closing aria Apollo resigns himself to his fate: "Dear laurel, with my tears I shall water your green leaves".
 
With Nikolay Borchev the role of Apollo is excellently cast. He gives a perfect portrayal of the arrogance of Apollo, and his performance is technically assured and stylistically convincing. His diction and his performance of the coloraturas are impressive, for instance in the aria 'Sprezza l'arco'. Myrsini Margariti does equally well in her interpretation of the role of Dafne. She has a nice voice which is perfectly suited to this role. It is just a pity she sometimes uses a bit too much vibrato, which is especially noticeable in the aria 'Felicissima quest'alma'.
 
The recitatives are taken with the right amount of rhythmic freedom. In the dialogues the interaction between the two characters is very good. That is also the case in the duet 'Deh! lascia addolcire' in which the musical material for the two protagonists is radically different, reflecting the antagonism between them. The sudden shift from aria to recitativo accompagnato in 'Mie piante correte', when Apollo discovers that Dafne has turned into a tree, is realised in a truly theatrical manner, taking the listener by surprise. There is just one defect in this performance: some dacapos are a bit short on ornamentation.
 
Handel had already touched on the subject of this cantata when he worked at the Hamburg opera. But his opera 'Die verwandelte Daphne' has been lost, and it is assumed the two orchestral suites HWV 352 and 353 contain instrumental music from this opera. The Suite in B flat is performed here as a kind of overture, as the cantata lacks one. That works pretty well, but the inclusion of the other suite in the cantata itself, immediately before the first entry of Dafne, is a less convincing decision. In my view it interrupts the dramatic flow of the cantata.
 
These instrumental suites are beautifully played, though, and so is the concerto grosso which concludes the disc. The orchestra produces a nice sound of great transparency. The slow movements of the concerto grosso are played with expression, and the rhythmic pulse of the fast movements is perfectly explored. In the cantata the orchestra underlines the drama, and the basso continuo section deserves praise for pushing the performance forward. I don't quite understand, though, why Apollo and Dafne each have their own keyboard, the organ and the harpsichord respectively. The use of an organ in this kind of repertoire is questionable anyway.
 
It is a shame that the booklet is not of the same standard as the performance. According to the tracklist the duration of this disc is 56:02, the reverse says it's 58:03 - both wrong. In fact, most timings in the tracklist are completely wrong as well. The first recitative is given as lasting 3:34, but it is 00:48. According to the tracklist the last aria takes 2:28, but it lasts 5:37. And if that is not enough, the booklet does not include the lyrics. This disc is produced in cooperation with the Händel-Haus in Halle. I don't understand why this institution accepts this kind of sloppiness.
 
Johan van Veen
 

 

 

 

 

 


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






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.