Handel Complete Cantatas vol. 1

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685 — 1759)

Handel Complete Cantatas vol. 1

Delirio Amoroso HWV 99 • Ditemi o piante HWV107
Care selve, aure grate HWV88 • Allor ch’io dissi addio HWV80

Ste­fanie True, soprano
Con­trasto Armon­ico
Marco Vitale, harp­si­chord and direction

Bril­liant Clas­sics 93999 (1-CD) • EAN code: 5028421939995
Release date: 1 Sep­tem­ber 2009



Release Sheet

Handel’s can­tatas rep­re­sent an impor­tant musi­cal reper­toire that until recently has been lit­tle known.  Con­sist­ing of about 100 sep­a­rate works, most were writ­ten over a period of a few years for pri­vate per­for­mance in Italy.  They range from musi­cal minia­tures con­tain­ing only two arias con­nected by recita­tive and accom­pa­nied by con­tinuo (a bass line typ­i­cally real­ized by cello and harp­si­chord) to larger works with named char­ac­ters, a dra­matic story, and rich instru­men­tal forces.  Telling more often than not about the pangs of love, these are inti­mate works, with texts fre­quently writ­ten by (and some­times about) mem­bers of the priv­i­leged audi­ence for which they were com­posed.  A num­ber of Handel’s can­tatas have texts by one of his impor­tant Ital­ian patrons, Car­di­nal Benedetto Pamphilj.

The project of Marco Vitale and Bril­liant Clas­sics to record all of Handel’s can­tatas is thrilling.  The con­tinuo can­tatas have never been recorded in full and many have never been recorded at all.  Thus, this project will bring to life largely unknown music by one of the world’s great­est com­posers.  Fur­ther, per­for­mance all the can­tatas will place the larger, instru­men­tal works in the musi­cal con­text of their creation.

Vitale’s expe­ri­ence and musi­cian­ship are well-matched to this ambi­tious project, as can be heard in his recent record­ing for Bril­liant Clas­sics of Handel’s La res­ur­rezione, from the same period as the can­tatas.  In par­tic­u­lar, his deci­sion to use low Roman pitch and trans­pos­ing winds gives the music a warm, con­fi­den­tial quality—so appro­pri­ate to the inti­mate set­tings in which the works were written—without sac­ri­fic­ing its bril­liance (as one can hear in the per­for­mance of Delirio amoroso on this CD).  I look for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing with Marco Vitale on this project and rejoice that all of Handel’s can­tatas will finally be avail­able to mod­ern listeners.

Ellen T. Har­ris, Pro­fes­sor of Music, Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy

Author of Han­del as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Cham­ber Cantatas