HANDEL Duetti e Terzetti italiani
These seldom-recorded duets and trios are masterpieces of miniature form. La Risonanza’s latest Handelian foray includes a sublime rendition of the rarely performed Caro autor di mia doglia
, perhaps written for Florence in 1707; it is the only one of his chamber duets for the distinctive combination of soprano (the plangent Roberta Invernizzi) and tenor (the mellifluous Krystian Adam). Likewise, the four duets for soprano and bass have hitherto received scant attention from musicians: Thomas Bauer is partnered by Invernizzi and Silvia Frigato in half each respectively. Tacete, ohimè, tacete
contains a sublime evocation of Cupid sleeping. The chamber singing of all participants has pinpoint accuracy, refined poise and poetic expressiveness; there is a pleasing hint of teasing wistfulness between Bauer and Frigato in the gently affectionate Che vai pensando, folle pensier
. In livelier passages Invernizzi occasionally exaggerates a little too much for such intimately conversational music, but the two sopranos combine rapturously in Amore gioie mi porge
, which ends with an extraordinary chromatic depiction of a suffering lover’s misery.
The duets are flanked by both of Handel’s chamber trios for two sopranos and bass. The D minor contrapuntal conclusion Quel fior che all’alba ride (HWV200) offers a vanitas moral that life is like a beautiful flower that wilts and loses its springtime (Handel recalled its musical material for a solemn chorus in L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato). The only one of these pieces that Handel dated is the bittersweet trio Se tu non lasci amore, composed at Naples on July 12, 1708 – so it is exactly contemporary to the serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo.
Continuo accompaniments are realised with exquisite subtlety by Caterina dell’Agnello (cello), Evangelina Mascardi (theorbo) and Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord). Beaming a searchlight into the darkest and furthest corners of Handel’s youthful Italian-period creations, these sage performances are essential fare.