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Ah! mio cor - Handel Arias / Kozena, Marcon, et al

Album Summary

>Handel, George Frideric : Alcina, HWV 34
>Handel, George Frideric : Hercules, HWV 60
>Handel, George Frideric : Agrippina, HWV 6
>Handel, George Frideric : Giulio Cesare, HWV 17
>Handel, George Frideric : Joshua, HWV 64
>Handel, George Frideric : Ariodante, HWV 33
>Handel, George Frideric : Theodora, HWV 68
>Handel, George Frideric : Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11
>Handel, George Frideric : Orlando, HWV 31
>Handel, George Frideric : Rinaldo, HWV 7
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This is Magdalena Kozena's first collaboration with the acclaimed Venice Baroque Orchestra and Andrea Marcon - a superlative grouping and a must-have album for every Handel fan. Following her best-selling album 'Lamento', Magdalena Kozena returns to her musical home ground, the world of dramatic Baroque singing, with her first Handel arias album. Once again Kozena has combined both well-known and lesser-known works to create a personal anthology of the most dramatic moments of love, hatred, hope, and desperation.

Sunday Times
The voice that goes straight to the heart

BBC Music Magazine
... Magdalena Koená beguiles and enchants throughout this captivating collection. The Czech mezzo's mature voice combines radiant purity with burnished intensity and... she negotiates Handel's quick-fire show-pieces with dazzling bravura. The musicians of Venice Baroque respond to her incantations with thrilling energy and passion. All in all, the results are completely spell-binding.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
With most items familiar from previous Handel aria anthologies, on paper this looks full of tired clichés. Thankfully, the stirring and passionate execution of Handel's music is anything but dull routine. KoOená and her Venetian accomplices might not be giving us anything deeply perceptive but everybody involved sounds as if they are engaged with the music. In particular, the Venice Baroque Orchestra sound admirably absorbed in the dramatic world of each aria.

KoOená has a good stab at this, too, but does not quite capture the personality and situation of each character. Alcina's heartbroken first encounter of a man being beyond her seductive power in 'Ah! mio cor!' is ravishing but its slowly creeping pathos is not a natural opener for a disc like this, and KoOená - albeit passionate - does not capture the depth of Alcina's complex psychological condition. An extrovert 'Cara speme' does not quite fit Sesto's emotional self-inquiry.

KoOená is much better at conveying the scheming Agrippina's anxious plea to the gods and 'Scherza infida' is finely judged, its best passages not too far off the benchmark set by Janet Baker, Sarah Connolly and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (alas, it is let down by the staccato B section). The most convincing synthesis of musical outpouring and dramatic mood is Melissa's 'Desterò dall'empia dite' (from Amadigi).

In Dejanira's mad scene from Hercules, KoOená's affected vowels and hammed-up insanity rob it of the poignancy that understatement achieves much better; Dejanira is a distraught heroine, not a lunatic shrieking that the Martians have landed. A similar approach makes for an over-egged mad scene from Orlando. But despite the frequent limitation of one-dimensional characterisation, these appealing performances have strength and colour.



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Works Details

>Handel, George Frideric : Alcina, HWV 34 :: Ah! mio cor! schemito sei!
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1735

>Handel, George Frideric : Hercules, HWV 60 :: Where shall I fly?
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: by 1745

>Handel, George Frideric : Agrippina, HWV 6 :: Pensieri, voi mi tormente
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1709

>Handel, George Frideric : Giulio Cesare, HWV 17 :: Cara speme, questo core
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1724

>Handel, George Frideric : Joshua, HWV 64 :: O had I Jubal's lyre
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1748

>Handel, George Frideric : Ariodante, HWV 33 :: Scherza infida, in grembo al drudo
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1734-1735

>Handel, George Frideric : Theodora, HWV 68 :: With Darkness deep
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1749-1750

>Handel, George Frideric : Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11 :: Desterò dall' empia Dite
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: by 1715

>Handel, George Frideric : Orlando, HWV 31 :: Ah! Stigie larve!...Vaghe pupille
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: by 1733

>Handel, George Frideric : Ariodante, HWV 33 :: Dopo notte
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1734-1735

>Handel, George Frideric : Rinaldo, HWV 7 :: Armida dispietata...Lascia ch'io pianga mia cruda sorte
  • Performer: Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Ensemble: Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: by 1711