- Joshua, oratorio, HWV 64: Air: Shall I in Mamre's fertile plain
- Rinaldo, opera, HWV 7: Aria: Vieni, o cara
- Siroe, rè di Persia, opera, HWV 24: Aria: Tu di pietà mi spogli
- Esther, oratorio, HWV 50a: Air: How art thou fall'n from thy height!
- Joshua, oratorio, HWV 64: Air: See, the raging flames arise
- Joshua, oratorio, HWV 64: Recitative: The walls are levell'd
- Nell' Africaine selve, cantata for bass & continuo, HWV 136: Aria: Chiedo amore
- Nell' Africaine selve, cantata for bass & continuo, HWV 136: Recitativo: Nice, là fra confine
- Nell' Africaine selve, cantata for bass & continuo, HWV 136: Aria: Langue, trema, e prigioniero
- Nell' Africaine selve, cantata for bass & continuo, HWV 136: Recitativo: Nell'africane selve
- Athalia, oratorio, HWV 52: Air: Ah, canst thou but prove me!
- Tolomeo, rè d'Egitto, opera, HWV 25: Aria: Piangi pur
- Concerto Grosso in F major, Op.3/4a, HWV 315
- Catone, opera, HWV A7: Aria: È ver che all'amo intorno
- Belshazzar, oratorio, HWV 61: Air: Opprest with never-ceasing grief
- Belshazzar, oratorio, HWV 61: Accompagnato: Oh, memory!
- Athalia, oratorio, HWV 52: Air: When storms the proud
- Esther, oratorio, HWV 50a: Arioso: Turn not, O Queen, thy face away
- Siroe, rè di Persia, opera, HWV 24: Aria: Gelido in ogni vena
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This second volume of Handel bass (or, if you prefer, base) arias from English singer Christopher Purves took six years to appear after the first volume, his debut on Hyperion. But it has risen onto sales charts, suggesting that the earlier recording registered with listeners strongly enough to leave them wanting more. Pop fans may remember Purves as part of the harmony group Harvey & the Wallbangers. He has sung many kinds of classical music outside the Baroque repertory, but he has a real knack for these Handel arias, in Italian and English, and his fit with the historical-performance ensemble Arcangelo is hand in glove. Handel didn't write many virtuoso bass arias of the type that sopranos have explored so profitably in recent years, but with the exception of "Esther," the works here are all but unknown and give the soloist plenty of challenges both technically and interpretively. Sample the little secular solo cantata "Nell'africane selve, HWV 136a," a product of Handel's Italian youth, with a pair of vividly contrasting arias (one agitated; the other more mellow) animating an unusually strong text by an unidentified poet, metaphorically describing an African lion. These pieces are oriented toward the strengths of Arcangelo and its director, Jonathan Cohen, who also deliver a delicate "concerto grosso" as an entr'acte. An unusually satisfying Handel vocal release, with strong performances of music only specialists will know well.
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