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Hasse: The Fiery Serpents In The Wilderness

Release Date: 12/05/2006 
Label:  Ambronay   Catalog #: 005   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Adolf Hasse
Performer:  Valerie GabailAnnette MarkertStéphanie d' OustracIsabelle Poulenard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Paladins
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Johann Adolph Hasse enjoyed a long association with Venice and was buried in the quiet church of San Marcuola by the Grand Canal in 1783. His first documented trip to the city had been 53 years earlier, when his opera Artaserse was premiered at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, and his talent came to the attention of several Venetian ospedali, the charitable institutions which looked after young women and often provided them with a remarkably advanced level of musical training. Hasse was officially appointed maestro of the Ospedale degli Incurabili in about 1735-39, and it was probably during this period that Setpentes ignei in deserto was composed for the Incurabili's female singers and instrumentalists.

The libretto
Read more presents arias by characters such as Moses and Joshua when the Israelites are cursed for their disobedience in the wilderness. JerOrne Correas directs an honest performance; although it is perhaps a good thing that the reverberant acoustic of the live recording made at Ambronay blurs some dodgy intonation from the violinists of Les Paladins. Despite the oratorio's origins, Correas avoids having an allfemale cast by including countertenor Robert Expert, whose weak singing mars one of the score's loveliest arias ("Dolore pleni", which portrays the penitence of the afflicted Israelites). Valerie Gabail and Stephanie d'Oustrac are both outstanding for smoothly delivering Hasse's fiendishly difficult coloratura in a way that brings out the dramatic weight and melodic intensity of the writing. Each aria on this superbly packaged recording demonstrates Hasse's noteworthy inventiveness but one suspects that the reputation of the composer will not be fully restored until at least the equivalent of this three-star musical treatment is given to some of his more adventurous operas.

-- David Vickers, Gramophone [3/2007]
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Works on This Recording

1. Serpentes ignei in deserto by Johann Adolf Hasse
Performer:  Valerie Gabail (Soprano), Annette Markert (Contralto (Female alto)), Stéphanie d' Oustrac (),
Isabelle Poulenard ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Paladins
Written: 1739 

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