[ Erato / Warner Classics / 2 CD ]
Release Date: Thursday 15 November 2018
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Surprisingly, the cantatas that Handel wrote in the earlier years of his career remain relatively little known. The thrilling theatricality of three works composed in Italy - Armida abbandonata, La Lucrezia and Aminta e Fillide is savoured to the full by conductor
Emmanuelle Haïm, soprano Sabine Devieilhe, mezzo-soprano Léa Desandre and the instrumentalists of Le Concert d'Astrée.
"These early compositions by Handel are performed beautifully. The gorgeous voices of the two solo singers, Sabine Devielhe (soprano) and Lea Desandre (mezzo), bring a real sense of drama and excitement. They are accompanied to wonderful effect by Le Concert D'Astree directed by Emmanuelle Haim. This is a remarkable recording, clear and well-balanced. Highly recommended." Nicholas Butler/Marbecks
"Both singers have unblemished voices of beautiful quality: Sabine Devieilhe, as Aminta, pellucid and free-soaring, Lea Desandre with a dark flare in her high mezzo…Le Concert d'Astrée, under Emmanuelle Haïm's animating direction, are far more than mere accompanists…Playing with words as well as tones, the crucial cello continuo is always acutely alive to singers and text…A disc that even amid fierce competition is a Handelian winner." Gramophone Recording of the Month Dec 2018
"This production is a delight throughout…Haïm retains control by preparing both the scores and the sopranos' ornaments, her vision giving this carefully wrought performance a fiery intensity, as if recorded live in concert…Desandre, a superb vocal actress, delivers bold musical rhetoric…You might think you know these cantatas, but this is a performance to make you think again" BBC Music Award Finalist 2020
Aminta e Fillide (Arresta il passo) HWV 83
Armida abbandonata, HWV 105
Trio Sonata, HWV 386b in B minor, Op. 2 No. 1
Lucrezia, HWV 145