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Great Handel
     

Great Handel

by Ian Bostridge
 
Ian Bostridge's collection of Handel arias and recitatives plunges boldly into the familiar repertoire -- pieces done so frequently that they're likely to be greeted with a yawn. It's a measure of Bostridge's confidence that he devotes much of the CD to these warhorses, and of his skill, that they come across as fresh and newly imagined.

Overview

Ian Bostridge's collection of Handel arias and recitatives plunges boldly into the familiar repertoire -- pieces done so frequently that they're likely to be greeted with a yawn. It's a measure of Bostridge's confidence that he devotes much of the CD to these warhorses, and of his skill, that they come across as fresh and newly imagined. Bostridge's "Comfort ye," and "Ev'ry Valley" from "Messiah," are a case in point. First, he sings them with absolutely solid technical assurance, which sets him apart from the tenors in the vast number of "Messiah" performances. Second, he freely ornaments them, avoiding the standards (such as the appoggiatura on the concluding "God," of the recitative), but adds others that are wonderfully effective; his appoggiatura on the second syllable of "iniquity" is shockingly dissonant, but is a beautiful example of text painting. Third, his pronunciation (except for his excessively rolled "r"s) is refreshingly natural, with little of the mannered, exaggerated precision that afflicts so many English oratorio soloists. His "Waft her, angels, through the skies," from "Jephtha," is a marvel of legato phrasing and pristine tone quality. Bostridge is equally successfully in the less familiar repertoire. The two arias from "Ariodante" bring out a darkness in his voice that isn't present in the less ominous selections, and they are an impressive example of the versatility and variety of color of which he's capable. Harry Bicket leads the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and much of the credit for the album's effectiveness goes to his restrained and creative accompaniments. He actually makes the harmonic progression at the beginning of "Ombra mai fu" (the Largo from "Xerxès") sound surprising and heartstoppingly tender. (In his excellent program notes, Bostridge points out that Handel must have had at least some ironic intent in giving voice to such ardent passion in a love song addressed to a tree.) Bostridge and Bicket shine new light on familiar repertoire and give the same loving attention to the less well-known pieces; this album should be of interest to fans of Handel, and of virtuoso Baroque vocal performance.

Editorial Reviews

BBC Music Magazine - Kate Bolton
Bostridge is sharply attuned to the subtlety of Handel's word setting, colouring his sound with a rich pallette of tibres and effects.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
[Bostridge's] classic, English-tenor voice spectacularly encompasses the wide-leaping Ariodante aria "Dopo notte," and his enunciation, especially in the English-language arias, has rare clarity.
Daily Telegraph - Richard Wigmore
There is plenty to savour in Bostridge's intelligent singing, sprucely accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He is dulcet in Acis's "Love in her Eyes sits Playing", and gives a spellbinding performance of Jephtha's "Waft her, Angels."

Product Details

Release Date:
07/17/2007
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0094638224327
catalogNumber:
82243

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Semele, oratorio, HWV 58: Air, Where'er you walk  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Accompagnato. Comfort ye  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Air. Ev'ry valley  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  4. Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40: Accompagnato. Frondi tenere  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Hugh Graham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  5. Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40: Arioso. Ombra mai fu  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Hugh Graham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  6. La Resurrezione, oratorio, HWV 47: Aria. Così la tortorella  - George Frideric Handel  - Lisa Beznosiuk  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Susannah Howe  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine  - S. Giovanni
  7. Acis and Galatea, oratorio, HWV 49: Air. Love sounds th'alarm  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Anthony Robson  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  8. Acis and Galatea, oratorio, HWV 49: Air. Love in her eyes sits playing  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Anthony Robson  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  9. Acis and Galatea, oratorio, HWV 49: Duet. Happy we!  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Anthony Robson  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  10. Ariodante, opera, HWV 33: Aria. Scherza infida  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Hugh Graham  - Sally Jackson  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine  - Andrew Watts
  11. Ariodante, opera, HWV 33: Aria. Dopo notte  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  12. Samson, oratorio, HWV 57: Air. Total eclipse!  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  13. L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (Pastoral Ode), oratorio, HWV 55: Duet. As steals the morn  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Richard Earle  - Sally Jackson  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Anthony Robson  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine  - Andrew Watts
  14. Jephtha, oratorio, HWV 70: Accompagnato. Hide thou thy hated beams  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  15. Jephtha, oratorio, HWV 70: A father, off'ring up his only child  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine
  16. Jephtha, oratorio, HWV 70: Air. Waft her, angels  - George Frideric Handel  - Harry Bicket  - Ian Bostridge  - Sarah Cunningham  - Elizabeth Kenny  - Richard Lester  -  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  - Steven Devine  - Steven Devine

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