Notes & Reviews:
On the third installment in Fabio Bonizzoni's survey of the secular cantatas with instrumental accompaniment, composed by Handel during his stay in Italy, are a quartet of works associated with the Venice-born 'maecenas' Pietro Ottoboni – including the substantial 'Ero e Leandro', the libretto for which is plausibly considered to have been written by the Cardinal Ottoboni himself. Also featured is the seldom-performed cantata for bass, 'Spande ancora a mio dispetto, Ah! Crudel, nel pianto mio', for soprano solo, and the Spanish-texted 'No se emendara jamas'.
This disc is further testament to the marvellous subtlety and richness of Handel's Roman music and contains Handel-singing, playing and direction of the absolute highest order.
Gramophone Classical Music Guide
It was once believed that the Venetian-born Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni was Handel's principal patron during the composer's exciting youthful years in Rome. Scholars now shy away from that verdict but he was a famous patron of the most respected Italian composers and his orchestra was led by Corelli. The cold truth is that not one of these four cantatas - which all date from about summer 1707 - has a verifiable connection with Ottoboni. There is flimsy evidence that the dramatic masterpiece Qual ti riveggio was written for him, and it is not difficult to imagine the astonishing solo violin passages were created specifically for Corelli to play. La Risonanza's Nick Robinson does a marvellous job with them; his playing is sweet, astute and sensitively contoured.
Raffaella Milanesi's singing is as emotionally raw as possible while remaining impeccably stylish and melodically suave as she describes the anguished Hero's discovery of her drowned lover Leander's body. Fabio Bonizzoni ensures that the performances crackle with dramatic tension or plumb the depths of desolate melodic melancholy according to what Handel's music demands, but the most impressive aspect of these performances is the conductor's awareness of story-telling and judicious moulding of the musical flow. The short cantata No se emenderá jamás - Handel's only composition with Spanish words - has been recorded before but never with the rapturous effect achieved here. The bass cantata Spande ancor a mio dispetto also receives a benchmark performance. The concluding work, Ah!crudel nel pianto mio, presents conflicting emotions between elation and misery in love: the long introductory sonata is joyously played, with each musical gesture superbly executed, and Milanesi's singing is by turns chilling, sensitive, spirited or tender. This disc is further testament to the marvellous subtlety and richness of Handel's Roman music and contains Handel-singing, playing and direction of the absolute highest order.
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Works DetailsHandel, George Frideric : Qual ti riveggio, oh Dio, HWV 150 "Ero e Leandro"
- Performers: Salvo Vitale (Bass); Raffaella Milanesi (Soprano)
- Conductor: Fabio Bonizzoni
- Ensemble: La Risonanza
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Cantata/Oratorio
- Written: circa 1707-1710
- Studio/Live: Studio