Notes and Editorial Reviews
French soprano Sandrine Piau is a singer with formidable technique and exceptional musical sensibility. She’s proven this on many previous recordings, but if you’re in doubt, just listen to the way she dispatches the insanely fast roulades in the opening aria “Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno” from the oratorio La Resurrezione. Yes, the speed may be a little excessive and “show-off-y”, but Piau manages it with seeming ease, turning what could have been just an impressive but musically pointless theatrical stunt into a thrilling four-and-a-half-minute study of unadorned, honest vocal virtuosity.
The rest of this thoughtfully programmed Handel recital is designed to show various and varied examples of the composer’s treatment of
the soprano voice in both oratorio and ode, and Piau and her very capable partners (including on one track, tenor Topi Lehtipuu, and on several others oboist Molly Marsh—both memorable names, to be sure) leave us impressed and satisfied in both the musical substance and outstanding musicianship exhibited, from the most obscure recitative (“Calm thou my soul”, from Alexander Balus) to the best-known aria (“Rejoice greatly”, from Messiah—the marvelous yet rarely-heard 12/8 version, no less!). While this is far from a “greatest hits” collection—most of these pieces are not frequently heard or recorded—that will in no way dampen this disc’s appeal for true lovers of Handel’s soprano arias or for fans of Sandrine Piau (and who isn’t one of those?).
-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Theodora, HWV 68: With Darkness deep by George Frideric Handel
Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Written: 1749-1750; London, England
Samson, HWV 57: Let the bright Seraphim by George Frideric Handel
Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Written: by 1743; London, England
Featured Sound Samples
Theodora: "With darkness deep"
Joseph and His Brethren: "Prophetic raptures swell my breast"
Oratorio per la Resurrezione di Nostro Signor Gesu, HWV 47: Aria: Disserratevi, o porte d'Averno
Theodora, HWV 68: Act II: Recitative: O thou bright sun! How sweet thy rays
Theodora, HWV 68: Act II: Air: With darkness deep as is my woe
Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, HWV 76: Ode for St. Cecilia's Day , HWV 76: Aria: What passion cannot Music raise and quell
Messiah, HWV 56: Part III: Aria: Rejoice Greatly
Theodora, HWV 68: Act II: Largo
Alexander Balus, HWV 65: Act III: Aria: O take me from this hateful light
Alexander Balus, HWV 65: Act III: Recitative: Forgive, O queen
Alexander Balus, HWV 65: Act III: Accompagnato: Calm thou my soul
Alexander Balus, HWV 65: Act III: Aria: Convey me to some peaceful shore
Joseph and His Brethren, HWV 59: Act III: Recitative: Art thou not Zaphnath? Is not Egypt sav'd?
Joseph and His Brethren, HWV 59: Act III: Aria: Prophetic raptures swell my breast
L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, HWV 55: Part III: Duet: As steals the morn upon the night
Solomon, HWV 67: Act III: Sinfonia, "The arrival of the Queen of Sheba"
L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, HWV 55: Part I: Accompagnato: First and chief on golden wing
L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, HWV 55: Part I: Aria: Sweet bird
Concerto Grosso in B flat major, Op. 3, No. 2, HWV 313: II. Largo
Samson, HWV 57: Act III Scene 2: Air: How willing my paternal love (Sung in German): Samson, HWV 57, Act III: Let the bright Seraphim in burning row
Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, HWV 46a: Part II: Accompagnato: Pure del cielo intelligenze eterne
Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, HWV 46a: Part II: Aria: Tu del Ciel ministro eletto
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