Delirio: Handel's Italian Cantatas

Delirio: Handel's Italian Cantatas

by Natalie Dessay


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Soprano Natalie Dessay and harpsichordist-conductor Emmanuelle Haim unite on this lovely program featuring two Handel solo cantatas, plus a substantial aria from Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo (the Italian version, not the English masque composed ten years later). While the two French musicians previously joined forces on a magnificent 2004 recording of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and the delightful Handel: Arcadian Duets -- both of which feature Dessay only occasionally -- with this newer recording the soprano makes a strong claim as an early-music singer of real distinction. Her voice -- high, light, and clear, yet full of warmth -- has already made her a renowned interpreter of Mozart and bel canto music, and she has even explored Strauss and Massenet on recent discs of opera excerpts. Yet she seems especially well suited to Handel, offering musically rewarding and vocally dazzling performances of these delightful works. Haim and her top-notch band, Le Concert d'Astrée, support Dessay's singing with equally graceful performances that may be short on dramatic punch but lack nothing in sparkle. The opening cantata, Il delirio amoroso (Love's Delirium), with a text by Handel's patron Cardinal Bendetto Pamphili, is essentially an extended lament from Clori over the death of Tirsi, and it includes prominent solos for oboe, violin, cello, and recorder, in addition to the voice. Likewise, the aria from Aci -- the longest and arguably finest track on the disc -- emphasizes the high-flying vocal solo with brilliant instrumental writing, underscoring the imagery of soaring, twittering birds, which only serve to remind the narrator of his loneliness. Similar to the opening cantata but more concise, Mi palpita il cor (My Heart Pounds), the final selection, also deals with the anguish of love lost, and again, a solo oboe duets with Dessay in tuneful counterpoint. An enchanting disc.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/10/2006
Label: Erato
UPC: 0094633262423
catalogNumber: 32624
Rank: 274084


  1. Il Delirio Amoroso (Da Quel Giorno Fatale), cantata for soprano & instruments, HWV 99

    1. Introduzione  (04:50)
    2. Recitativo: Da quel giorno fatale  (00:58)
    3. Aria: Un pensiero voli in ciel  (09:07)
    4. Recitativo: Ma fermati, pensier!  (00:55)
    5. Aria: Per te lasciai la luce  (09:38)
    6. Recitativo: Non ti bastava, ingrato  (00:53)
    7. Aria: Lascia omai le brune vele  (05:25)
    8. Recitativo: Ma siamo giunti in Lete  (00:20)
    9. Entrée  (01:35)
    10. Minuet: In queste amene piagge serene  (02:20)
    11. Recitativo: Sì disse Clori  (00:20)
    12. Minuet  (00:33)
  2. Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (Sorge il di), dramatic cantata, HWV 72: Aria: Qui l'augel da pianta in pianta

    1. Aria: Qui l'augel da pianta in pianta  (11:08)
  3. Mi palpita il cor, cantata, HWV 132

    1. Adagio: Mi palpita il cor  (00:37)
    2. Allegro: Agitata è l'alma mia  (00:37)
    3. Recitativo: Tromento e gelosia  (00:39)
    4. Aria: Ho tanti affanni in petto  (07:53)
    5. Recitativo: Clori, di te mi lagno  (00:43)
    6. Aria: Se un dì m'adora  (03:24)

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