The Gramophone Choice
‘Italian Cantatas, Vol 1: Le cantate per il Cardinal Pamphili’ – Il delirio amoroso, ‘Da quel giorno fatale’, HWV99. Pensieri notturni di Filli, ‘Nel dolce dell’oblio’, HWV134. Tra le fiamme, HWV170. Figlio d’alte speranze, HWV113 Roberta Invernizzi sop La Risonanza / Fabio Bonizzoni hpd Glossa GCD921521 (66’ · DDD · T/t)
‘Italian Cantatas, Vol 2: Le cantate per il Marchese Ruspoli’ – Armida abbandonata, HWV105. Notte placida e cheta, HWV142. Tu fedel? tu costante?, HWV171. Diana cacciatrice, HWV79. Un’alma innamorata, HWV173 Emanuela Galli, Roberta Invernizzi sops La Risonanza / Fabio Bonizzoni hpd Glossa GCD921522 (74’ · DDD · T/t)
‘Italian Cantatas, Vol 3: Le cantate per il Cardinal Ottoboni’ – Ah! crudel nel pianto mio, HWV78. No se emenderá jamás, HWV140. Qual ti riveggio, oh Dio, HWV150. Spande ancora a mio dispetto, HWV165 Raffaella Milanesi sop Salvo Vitale bass La Risonanza / Fabio Bonizzoni hpd Glossa GCD921523 (67’ · DDD · T/t)
‘Italian Cantatas, Vol 4: Le cantate per il Marchese Ruspoli, Vol 2’ – Aminta e Fillide, ‘Arresta il passo’, HWV83. Clori, mia bella Clori, HWV92 Nuria Rial, Maria Grazia Schiavo sops La Risonanza / Fabio Bonizzoni hpd Glossa GCD921524 (67’ · DDD · T/t)
‘Italian Cantatas, Vol 5: Le cantate per il Marchese Ruspoli, Vol 3’ – Clori, Tirsi e Fileno, ‘Cor fedele’, HWV96 Roberta Invernizzi, Yetzabel Arias Fernández sops Romina Basso mez La Risonanza / Fabio Bonizzoni hpd Glossa GCD921525 (75’ · DDD · T/t)
‘Italian Cantatas, Vol 6: Le cantate per il Marchese Ruspoli, Vol 4’ – Alpestre monte, HWV81. Duello amoroso, ‘Amarilli vezzosa’, HWV82. Olinto, pastore arcade, ‘Oh! Come chiare e belle’, HWV143 Roberta Invernizzi, Yetzabel Arias Fernández sops Romina Basso mez La Risonanza / Fabio Bonizzoni hpd Glossa GCD921526 (69’ · DDD · T/t)
‘Italian Cantatas, Vol 7’ – Apollo e Dafne, HWV122. Agrippina condotta a morire, HWV110. Cuopre talvolta il cielo, HWV98 Roberta Invernizzi sop Thomas E Bauer, Furio Zanasi basses La Risonanza / Fabio Bonizzoni hpd Glossa GCD921527 (72’ · DDD · T/t) Buy from Amazon
La Risonanza’s theatrically coloured playing has raised the performance standard for Handel’s Italian cantatas. Bonizzoni’s refreshing direction is entirely devoid of the coolly dispatched detachment or mannered feyness often found in this repertoire. This lovingly prepared series promises to be of the utmost importance to Handel lovers.
Recitatives are performed with perfect poetic clarity and dramatic timing. Bonizzoni’s Italian ensemble astutely diagnoses and communicates the Affekt of each movement in some of the youthful Handel’s most freely imaginative music. The balance between instruments is consistently fine, warm and lyrical. In particular, Bonizzoni has the admirable knack of conveying the strong rhetorical elements in Handel’s vivacious music, and the performances are beautifully executed with subtlety and charm.
This is an essential series from La Risonanza, whose project is among the most rewarding Handelian discographic undertakings of recent years.
Notte placida e cheta, HWV142. Un’ alma innamorata, HWV173. Figlio d’alte speranze, HWV113. Agrippina condotta a morire, HWV110. Concerto a quattro in D
Emma Kirkby sop London Baroque
BIS BIS-SACD1695 (67’ · DDD/DSD · T/t) Buy from Amazon
The largest single legacy of Handel’s years in Italy (in his early twenties) were around 100 chamber cantatas, from which Emma Kirkby and London Baroque have picked out four excellent examples from the 30 or so featuring one or two violins alongside the solo voice and continuo. In this they face strong competition from La Risonanza’s series with Italian singers (see above), but the clash does no damage to either group as both have distinct virtues. For some, of course, the presence of Emma Kirkby will be enough to seal the deal, and indeed she is on superb form. Early on there are a few signs of a lack of her usual instrumental precision; but by the time she is showing off her artless virtuosity in the final aria of Figlio d’alte speranze and striding easily through ‘Orrida, oscura’, the first aria of the compellingly dramatic Agrippina condotta a morire, all worries have long been banished. Her interpretative intelligence and attention to words are a given but she can also catch a subtle mood, as in ‘Quel povero core’ from Un’ alma innamorata, whose sense of resigned torment is enhanced by a sensitive contribution from the solo violin. Emanuela Galli captures this kind of intimate emotion even more affectingly in La Risonanza’s performances, mind, but with a touch less vocal security.
The recorded sound, as often in London Baroque’s recordings for BIS, is strangely resonant and steely. The ‘Concerto a quattro’ included here is claimed as a Handel work in its German 18th-century source but sounds like nothing of the kind.