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Klassiek - Verschenen op 31 januari 2020 | Warner Classics

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Handel spent many years in Italy during his youth and it was here that he composed his anti-heroic comedy, Agrippina, at the age of twenty-four, before eventually settling down in London. Its immoral, corrupt and decadent plots are presented as an inherent part of daily life for the ruling class of ancient Rome, along with their insatiable desire for political and sexual power. Handel was fascinated by Italian music and composed this particular opera in less than three weeks upon the request of a Venetian theatre, where it was then performed some twenty-seven nights in a row. Such was the enormity of the opera’s success that it firmly established the young composer’s reputation in Europe as a result. The score is bursting with emotion and has so many twists and turns that even the Venetians, who were used to these kinds of storylines, were blown away. The colourful libretto includes betrayals, assassinations, feigned love and lies of every kind – all of which are elements that the American film industry delights in incorporating into the films of today under the direction of someone like Martin Scorsese or the Coen brothers. This studio recording was made in the Dolomites in May 2019, in conjunction with a European tour and features a dazzling cast led by the fierce Joyce DiDonato (Agrippina). This is DiDonato is at her very best, combining her vocals with marvellously conducted flourishes. She perfectly encapsulates the difficult, multi-faceted role by reflecting each one of Agrippina’s personality traits, from formidable intelligence and masterful manipulation to being a loving mother and wife. Joining her onstage is an exceptional cast that includes Franco Fagioli (Nerone), Jakub Józef Orliński (Ottone), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Giunone) and Elsa Benoit (Poppea), along with the II Pomo d’Oro ensemble, feverishly conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev. This can only be described as a Handel grand cru. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | PentaTone

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This second volume of Handel’s Concerti grossi from Opus 6 was recorded by the Akademie für Alte Musik in Berlin under the direction of Bernhard Frock, completing the first part published in July 2019. Once again, the sound recording is magnificently natural, brilliantly capturing the venue’s spatiality and the instruments’ full-bodied timbres. Among the many great qualities of this Handel trilogy (the third edition will include the Concerti, Op. 3), the ensemble’s perfectly united playing stands out, without any of the hard or speedy gushes that so often become the hallmarks of less stylistically astute ensembles. While Handel used Corelli as a model for his concerto grosso, importing it to London, the Berlin musicians offer a calm and serene version, one which is often steeped with melancholy, the fruit of a mature composer who absorbed all the different musical styles he heard around him and turned it into something truly unique. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 24 januari 2020 | Alpha

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Several composers have written music inspired by the story of Arianna (also commonly known as Ariadne) abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos. The American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, lauded for her intelligent and luminous singing, chose to illustrate this story by means of three composers: Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel and Haydn and with the help of the Arcangelo ensemble, founded by harpsichordist and organist Jonathan Cohen. The archetype of the woman abandoned, the character of Arianna offers composers and performers alike vast expressive possibilities for an audience always eager to identify themselves with the scarred heroine. Monteverdi was without a doubt one of the first ones to put the young woman’s perils to music, in an opera which has since been lost (the only surviving part is the sublime lamento). In the cantata Ebra d’amor fuggia, Alessandro Scarlatti conjures Arianna’s state of mind in a very baroque way, tenderly, dreamily, rebelliously… Handel would also use the same influence during his Roman years with his cantata Ah! crudel, nel planto moi, an exact contemporary of Scarlatti’s work, as the two were composed in 1707. At the later end of the century, in 1789, Haydn also wrote Arianna a Naxos, a cantata for solo voice accompanied by a single keyboard. The expression is intense but the absence of vocal virtuosity pushes one to think this is work destined for more experienced performers just as much as talented amateurs. We know that Haydn planned on adding instruments to his cantata, a project that was completed by several composers including his student Sigismund Neukomm, whose work from 1808, the year before the Haydn’s death, is presented here. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Opera - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | Accent

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 14 februari 2020 | Warner Classics

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 14 februari 2020 | Warner Classics

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | Christophorus

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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | Kana Music Factory

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 29 januari 2020 | Signum Records

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | CAFUA

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | Russian Compact Disc

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | Genuin

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 12 februari 2020 | Signum Records

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