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Handel: Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno

Handel: Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno

by Emmanuelle Haïm
Handel wrote the secular oratorio "Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno" (The triumph of Time and of Enlightenment) to the text of one of his patrons, Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili, in Rome in 1707. The libretto, which doesn't stand up to close logical scrutiny, centers on Beauty, who must choose between self-indulgent Pleasure and the austerity of allegiance to Time


Handel wrote the secular oratorio "Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno" (The triumph of Time and of Enlightenment) to the text of one of his patrons, Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili, in Rome in 1707. The libretto, which doesn't stand up to close logical scrutiny, centers on Beauty, who must choose between self-indulgent Pleasure and the austerity of allegiance to Time and Enlightenment. Needless to say, any patron entering the theater for the performance, having noted the title on the playbill, would have no doubt about the outcome of the struggle, so dramatic suspense cannot have been one of the inducements for an eighteenth century audience. The rewards, however, are real, most notably Handel's remarkably fertile inventiveness and musical ingenuity, which justified sitting through a two-and-a-half-hour performance that was guaranteed to be a dramatic non-starter. Handel keeps recitatives to a minimum, and the oratorio is rich in musical substance and variety. With this CD there's the added attraction of stellar vocal and instrumental performances. Emmanuelle Haïm leads le Concert d'Astrée in a light and sparkling reading, and the energy never lags. Soprano Natalie Dessay as Bellezza is vulnerably delicate, but also has reserves of temperamental strength, and she brings real warmth to the personification. As Piacere, mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg is beguilingly tempting, displaying more than a little naughtiness, and she sings with absolute security and ravishing tonal beauty. Alto Sonia Prina, as Disingenno, is a genuine coloratura alto, with dazzling agility as well as a full, pure tone. Pavol Brslik, as Tempo, has a light but focused and pleasing tenor, and he nails the composer's virtuosic demands. Virgin's sound is immaculate, with depth and ideal resonance.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Vivien Schweitzer
Enchanting.... Ms. Haïm directs the superb Baroque orchestra Le Concert d’Astrée...in a fleet, immaculate performance that dances among airy, profound and sensuous moods. The excellent quartet of singers is led by the radiant, bright voice of the soprano Natalie Dessay.
BBC Music Magazine - George Pratt
[May 2007 Disc of the Month] The music is superb.... Technically superb, reassuringly stylish, this is an outstanding performance of Handel at the height of his powers.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
These new recordings have particular authority, with performers who all sound like they're speaking Handel-ese as a first language. The pieces take on an almost pop-like immediacy.
San Francisco Chronicle - Steven Winn
Even when Handel was just getting into the water of his great Italian style, he could outswim the competition.... There's some marvelous music here, both tender and tempestuous.
Dallas Morning News - Lawson Taitte
[Grade: A-] Haim knows how to whip a score like this into something glorious. A great, breezy score in a primo performance.
BBC Online - Andrew McGregor
An intoxicating experience. This really feels like young Handel; original, vital, and passionately expressive, and this recording of Il Trionfo is itself a triumph, in every area.
Audiophile Audition - Steven Ritter
This new recording by Emmanuelle Haïm and forces, with some smoky, superb singing by the ever-amazing Natalie Dessay (and beautiful tenor of Pavol Breslik) eclipses even the excellent Alessandrini. Haïm seems to be on a role these days with her rejuvenated, common sense performances.
The Guardian - Tim Ashley
Natalie Dessay [is] thrillingly accurate in all her coloratura, and offering a characterisation of striking subtlety and psychological insight.... Haïm's conducting is similarly faultless. One of the great Handel interpretations of our time.
Daily Telegraph - Richard Wigmore
The music is Handel at his most sensuous and exuberant.... Emmanuelle Haïm and her ensemble bring their usual verve and inventiveness to this glorious score. And the cast could hardly be bettered.... A Handelian delight.

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  1. Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, oratorio, HWV 46a

    1. Sonata. Allegro - Adagio - Allegro  (04:54)
    2. Part 2. Recitativo. Se del falso piacere  (00:59)
    3. Part 1. Aria. Fido specchio, in te vagheggio  (04:59)
    4. Part 2. Aria. Chiudi, chiudi i vaghi rai  (03:21)
    5. Part 1. Recitativo. Io, che sono il Piacere  (00:24)
    6. Part 2. Recitativo. In tre parti divise  (00:46)
    7. Part 1. Aria. Fosco genio, e nero duolo  (03:08)
    8. Part 2. Aria. Io sperai trovar nel vero  (06:57)
    9. Part 1. Recitativo. Ed io, che'l Tempo sono  (00:21)
    10. Part 2. Recitativo. Tu vivi invan dolente  (00:13)
    11. Part 1. Aria. Se la bellezza perde vaghezza  (04:03)
    12. Part 2. Aria. Tu giurasti di mai non lasciarmi  (03:58)
    13. Part 1. Recitativo. Dunque si prendan l'armi  (00:15)
    14. Part 2. Recitativo. Sguardo, che infermo ai rai del sol si volge  (00:21)
    15. Part 1. Aria. Una schiera di piaceri  (03:28)
    16. Part 2. Aria. Io vorrei due cori in seno  (03:45)
    17. Part 1. Recitativo. I colossi del sole  (00:15)
    18. Part 2. Recitativo. Io giurerei, che tu chiudesti i lumi  (00:39)
    19. Part 1. Aria. Urne voi, che racchiudete  (07:04)
    20. Part 2. Aria. Più non cura  (04:51)
    21. Part 1. Recitativo. Sono troppo crudeli i tuoi consigli  (00:10)
    22. Part 2. Recitativo. È un ostinato errore  (00:12)
    23. Part 1. Duetto. Il voler nel fior degl'anni  (05:01)
    24. Part 2. Aria. È ben folle quel nocchier  (02:15)
    25. Part 1. Recitativo. Della vita mortale  (00:29)
    26. Part 2. Recitativo. Dicesti il vero, e benché tardi intesi  (00:18)
    27. Part 1. Aria. Un pensiero nemico di pace  (03:54)
    28. Part 2. Quartetto. Voglio Tempo per risolvere  (03:53)
    29. Part 1. Recitativo. Folle, tu nieghi il Tempo  (00:56)
    30. Part 2. Recitativo. Presso la reggia ove il Piacer risiede  (01:14)
    31. Part 1. Aria. Nasce l'uomo  (02:14)
    32. Part 2. Aria. Lascia la spina  (06:25)
    33. Part 1. Aria. L'uomo sempre se stesso distrugge  (02:35)
    34. Part 2. Recitativo. Con troppo chiare note  (00:28)
    35. Part 1. Recitativo. Questa è la reggia mia  (01:30)
    36. Part 2. Aria. Voglio cangiar desio  (05:17)
    37. Part 1. Sonata. Taci: qual suono ascolto?  (02:35)
    38. Part 2. Recitativo. Or che tiene la destra  (00:16)
    39. Part 1. Aria. Un leggiadro giovinetto  (03:43)
    40. Part 2. Aria. Chi già fu del biondo crine  (02:12)
    41. Part 1. Recitativo. Ha nella destra l'ali  (00:13)
    42. Part 2. Recitativo. Ma che veggio, che miro?  (00:39)
    43. Part 1. Aria. Venga il Tempo  (03:18)
    44. Part 2. Aria. Ricco pino nel cammino  (04:03)
    45. Part 1. Aria. Crede l'uom ch'egli riposi  (07:53)
    46. Part 2. Recitativo. Sì, bella Penitenza  (00:45)
    47. Part 1. Recitativo. Tu credi che sia lungi  (00:50)
    48. Part 2. Duetto. Il bel pianto dell'aurora  (06:24)
    49. Part 1. Aria. Folle, dunque tu sola presumi  (03:28)
    50. Part 2. Recitativo. Piacer, che meco già vivesti  (00:28)
    51. Part 1. Recitativo. La reggia del Piacere vedesti  (00:18)
    52. Part 2. Aria. Come nembo que fugge col vento  (05:29)
    53. Part 1. Quartetto. Se non sei più ministro di pene  (04:09)
    54. Part 2. Recitativo. Pure del Cielo intelligenze eterne  (00:46)
    55. Part 2. Aria. Tu del Ciel ministro eletto  (06:05)

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