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Handel: Alceste / Lucy Crowe, Benjamin Hulett, Andrew Foster-Williams - Christian Curnyn

> Alceste, HWV 45 - Ouverture
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Grand entree
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Accompagnato: Ye happy people (Tenor)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Triumph, Hymen, in the pair (Soprano, Chorus)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Still caressing and caress'd (Soprano, Chorus)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Air: Ye swift minutes as ye fly (Tenor)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - O bless, ye pow'rs above (Chorus)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Air: Gentle Morpheus, son of night (Soprano) - That when bright Aurora's beams
> Admeto, re di Tessaglia, HWV 22 - Admeto, re di Tessaglia, HWV 22: Sinfonia
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Air: Ye fleeting shades, I come (Bass)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Thrice happy who in life excel (Chorus)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Air: Enjor the sweet Elysian grove (Tenor)
> Radamisto, HWV 12a - Radamisto, HWV 12a: Passacaille
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Si replica il Core precedente: Thrice happy
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Air: Come, Fancy, empress of the brain (Soprano)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Symphony and Accompagnato: He comes, he rises from below (Tenor)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Al hail, thou mighty son of Jove! (Chorus)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Symphony: Larghetto
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Recitative: From high Olympus' top, the seat of God (Tenor)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Air: Tune your harps, all ye Nine (Tenor)
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Ballo primo: Un peu lentement
> Alceste, HWV 45 - L'ultimato ballo
> Alceste, HWV 45 - Triumph, thou son of Jove (Chorus)

Album Summary

>Handel, George Frideric : Alceste, incidental music, HWV 45
>Handel, George Frideric : Admeto, re di Tessaglia, HWV 22
>Handel, George Frideric : Radamisto, HWV 12a
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This recording of Alceste is performed by the Early Opera Company and Christian Curnyn, whose other Handel recordings for Chandos have all received glowing accolades: Semele, for instance, was an Editor's Choice in Gramophone and one of the Records of 2007 in The Sunday Times. The recording of Flavio was nominated for a Gramophone Award in 2011, in the Baroque Vocal category. In Alceste, Admetus, the terminally ill King of Thessaly, is promised by Apollo that he can defer his premature death if another person volunteers to die in his place. Alcestis, the beloved wife of Admetus, bravely sacrifices herself to die in his place. The hero Hercules visits his grieving friend Admetus, resolves to travel to Hades, overpowers Pluto, returns Alcestis to the world of the living, and restores her to Admetus.

"The score is of superlative quality and shows that Handel understood perfectly that for this quintessentially English theatrical impact the music had to make its impact immediately...Curnyn understands this too, and this performance has wonderful breadth...Crowe brings a gorgeous sensuality to ['Gentle Morpheus']...Hulett paces and phrases his short final aria 'Tune your harps' beautifully...Foster-Williams is impressively implacable in his single aria." -International Record Review

Sunday Times
Agreeable sequence of music with one show stopper, Calliope's Gentle Morpheus, which is the highlight here, as sung by Lucy Crowe, warmer and more sensual than the classic account by Emma Kirkby...[with] Curnyn's choral and orchestral forces on sparkling form, the disc offers more than an hour of Handelian delight.

bbc.co.uk - Graham Rogers
Curnyn's lively and sensitive approach makes a strong case for this little-known score.

BBC Music Magazine
Curnyn's delicious recording of the surviving score is amplified with a sinfonia from Admeto and a passacaglia from Radamisto. These fizzily, sexily swung orchestral additions emphasise the parallels between Handel's incidental music and Purcell's music for King Arthur, The Fairy Queen and The Tempest...Alcestis's journey to the Underworld is enchanting, with Curnyn's fleet strings, intimately proportioned chorus, and polished soloists.

American Record Guide, September / October 2012
In style, Curnyn is just a bit more suave, Hogwood more blunt. But each is fully satisfying. The choral and instrumental forces are superb here, and the sound is quite full in Chandos's updated engineering. The packaging is exemplary.

International Record Review, May 2012
The score is of superlative quality and shows that Handel understood perfectly that for this quintessentially English theatrical impact the music had to make its impact immediately...Curnyn understands this too, and this performance has wonderful breadth...Crowe brings a gorgeous sensuality to ['Gentle Morpheus']...Hulett paces and phrases his short final aria 'Tune your harps' beautifully...Foster-Williams is impressively implacable in his single aria.

Gramophone Magazine, August 2012
Curnyn and his trim period band give full value to the music's sensuous charm, phrasing alluringly in the slower numbers and keeping the rhythms lithe and springy...Andrew Foster-Williams is incisive without bluster in Charon's balefully cheerful 'Ye fleeting shades'. Benjamin Hulett is both mellifluous and athletic in his three arias, while Lucy Crowe displays her nimble coloratura technique in the frolicking 'Come fancy' and brings a limpid purity of line to 'Gentle Morpheus'.

The Guardian, 12th July 2012
There's a real sense of ceremonial majesty in the choruses, and the solo singing is exceptionally fine. Benjamin Hulett tackles his exacting coloratura numbers with great elegance, while Andrew Foster-Williams has fun as Charon...Best of all, though, is Lucy Crowe, who gets to sing Gentle Morpheus, Son of Night, one of the most beautiful things in Handel's entire output.

MusicWeb International, July 2012
[Hulett] impresses with his easy mellifluous voice, lovely sense of line and nice crisp ornamentation... if you haven't yet made the acquaintance of Handel's personable score, then this is the time to do so and this is the recording to go for.

Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 14th May 2012
Some of the finest music was written for the soprano...and Lucy Crowe is ravishing: it's worth getting this disc just to hear her liquid middle register and hypnotic phrasing in the beautiful 'Gentle Morpheus'. Andrew Foster-Williams is gleefully baleful as the infernal oarsman Charon, and Benjamin Hulett sings with distinctive tone and a fine sense of line in his three gorgeous arias.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London (11/07/2011-11/08/2011).



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Works Details

>Handel, George Frideric : Alceste, incidental music, HWV 45
  • Conductor: Christian Curnyn
  • Ensemble: Early Opera Company
  • Notes: St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London (11/07/2011-11/08/2011)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1750

>Handel, George Frideric : Admeto, re di Tessaglia, HWV 22 :: Sinfonia
  • Conductor: Christian Curnyn
  • Notes: St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London (11/07/2011-11/08/2011)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1727

>Handel, George Frideric : Alceste, incidental music, HWV 45
  • Performer: Andrew Foster-Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: Christian Curnyn
  • Notes: St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London (11/07/2011-11/08/2011)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1750

>Handel, George Frideric : Radamisto, HWV 12a :: Passacaille
  • Conductor: Christian Curnyn
  • Notes: St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London (11/07/2011-11/08/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1720

>Handel, George Frideric : Alceste, incidental music, HWV 45
  • Conductor: Christian Curnyn
  • Notes: St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London (11/07/2011-11/08/2011)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1750