The 4th volume of Brilliant Classics’ recordings of Handel’s complete cantatas, performed by Contrasto Armonico and directed by Marco Vitale, gathers together five works that vividly illustrate the composer’s skill at setting the words of his texts, creating hitherto unknown emotional depth and nuance from modest orchestral forces.
The musical setting of Clori, mia bella Clori amply displays the genius that would establish Handel as the leading operatic composer of his day, using a range of different combinations of instruments to respond to the subject of each section of the text, from grief and weeping to passionate jealousy. Similarly, in both Pensieri notturni di Filli (Nel dolce dell’oblio) and Lungi n’andò Fileno Handel employs striking dissonance to create a musical counterpart to the despair and suffering of the texts. By contrast, Sans y penser, Handel’s only French cantata, is a comic work, closing with a humorous musical illustration of the singer’s tribute to drinking.
Handel composed over 100 secular cantatas during his stay in Italy in the early 1700s. He had several patrons; among the most generous and supportive was the Marquis Francesco Maria Ruspoli, and most of the information on the works included on this disc comes from his records.
These cantatas reveal the richness of the young composer’s compositional palette, and his ability to depict the content of his texts in such a way that the listener both hears and experiences the emotions of each work. As such, they are an important foreshadowing of his later career as a celebrated operatic composer.
- Other titles in the series: Vol.1 (93999), Vol.2 (94000) & Vol.3 (94230)
- Accompanied by a 20-page booklet with notes on each of the cantatas and complete sung texts and translations
- The high level of performance (on historic instruments) and presentation
- Recordings made in 2010