"The versatile, highly acclaimed early music ensemble, Zefiro, present a beautiful programme exploring the influence of water and the elements upon both Handel and Telemann, reissued at a special price for the Handel 250th anniversary this year…" ~prestoclassical
George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German–English Baroque composer who is famous for his operas, oratorios and concerti grossi. Handel's compositions include 42 operas; 29 oratorios; more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets; numerous arias; chamber music; a large number of ecumenical pieces; odes and serenatas; and 16 organ concerti.
This is, quite simply, one of the most splendid Handel opera recordings ever made. We owe a debt of gratitude to DG/Universal for reissuing this much-admired Westminster recording from 1965. The opera itself is one of Handel's finest; a late work magically integrating farce and pathos, and filled with an abundance of brilliant invention remarkable even for Handel. Priestman does full justice to the kaleidoscopic shifts of mood, affect, idiom and orchestration that makes this work a viable musical entertainment today no less than in 1738. Though Priestman's Viennese forces play modern instruments, the conductor obviously has a solid understanding of Baroque performance practice (according to the musicological priorities of his day)…
This opera, Handel's penultimate, is relatively direct, both in its scoring–just strings and oboes–and its plot: Rosmene (soprano) must choose between Tirinto (mezzo-soprano), whom she loves and who loves her, and Imeneo (bass-baritone), who rescued her from pirates. Rosmene's confidante Clomiri (soprano) loves Imeneo, but it is unrequited; he loves Rosmene. Argenio (bass) is Rosmene's father; he wants her to marry Imeneo. This simplicity might lead you to believe that the opera is lightweight or emotionally void (it was referred to as an "operetta" at its premiere), but it's remarkable how involved the listener gets in the plot. Until the very last moment we don't know who Rosmene will select, and furthermore, when she feigns madness because she must choose between duty and love, she either feigns it so well that we believe her too, or like Hamlet, she actually is mad–at least for a little while. She opts for duty and picks Imeneo, explaining in a brief final aria that she's like a boat at the mercy of the wind that has gone from one shore to another: "Dear deserted shore," she sings to Tirinto, "if fate took it elsewhere, how did the unfortunate boat commit a sin?"
“WATER & FIRE - Handel revisited”, presenting Handel’s most iconic music arranged for 5 saxophones and grand organ. Eric Sleichim (founder/leader of Bl!ndman) and Dutch organ player Reitze Smits arranged the Water Music suite and Music for the Royal Fireworks, for saxophone quintet (BL!NDMAN [sax] + Eric Sleichim (once again on alto for this album) and grand organ. Saxophone(s) and organ have already been combined several times in new music. The sound, as well as the dynamics of the instruments, mix splendidly, in the louder passages as well as in the quieter parts. The monumental character of Handel’s orchestral score is emphasized in this unique instrumentation. Handel’s iconic orchestral suites flank the opening movement of Jean-Féry Rebel’s Les Elémens, a musical punch-in-the-face long ahead of its time.
Handel's solo sonatas exist in versions for various wind instruments as well as for violin, in some cases differing in their respective keys and number of movements. Many were reworked in later printed editions so that they would be playable on the transverse flute, an instrument that was becoming ever more popular in England at that time. This release of the complete wind sonatas takes into account the different versions of the pieces. The soloists are proven experts in their field: flutist Barthold Kuijken, recorder player Peter Van Heyghen and oboist Marcel Ponseele.
Handel's unrivaled masterpieces of the concerto grosso form and style–his Twelve Grand Concertos, in seven parts, for four violins, a tenor, a violoncello, with a thorough-bass for the harpsichord–here receive their finest recording to date, with performances that leave all others–both period- and modern-instrument versions–in their wake. For obvious reasons these 12 concertos have remained popular since their publication in 1740: the irresistibly congenial tunes and engaging rhythms, the free-spirited fugues, endearing Largos and Adagios, and overall vivacious writing for all instruments elicits correspondingly high-spirited responses from anyone within earshot of these unrelentingly entertaining works.