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Handel: Delirio / Dessay, Haïm, Le Concert D'astrée

Release Date: 01/10/2006 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 32624   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Natalie DessayEmmanuelle HaïmStephanie-Marie DegandHéloise Gaillard,   ... 
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HANDEL Delirio amoroso. Aci, Galatea e Polifemo: Qui l’augel da pianta in pianta. Mi palpita il cor Natalie Dessay (sop); Emmanuelle Haïm (hpd); dir; Le Concert d’Astrée (period instruments) VIRGIN 32624 (62:02)

Brian Robins’s review comment in Fanfare 29:3, “Those less concerned with Handelian style will doubtless enjoy the disc more than I have,” uttered after essentially Read more castigating this release, captures my feeling very well. For I feel it an error to always judge performances of Handel by what we think we know he is intending. Robins calls for an “idiomatic” approach in music that has, at the very least, redefined “idiomatic” for the last hundred years. While it is true that many of the tempos here are slower than the current norm, I also think that Emmanuelle Haïm, avoiding any sense of the doctrinaire, wishes first and foremost to take every advantage of her solo instrument at hand, namely one Natalie Dessay.

Delirio amoroso is one of Handel’s major cantatas, and is here given a performance worthy of all accolades. One thing that I always try to think of first and foremost in any performance is how good is the singing , and here it is rarified indeed. No doubt that Dessay takes some liberties, but the voice is in such great shape and so utterly entrancing that all other concerns fall away, at least for me. Perhaps it is because I am not a fervent periodist that other issues seem more pedantic; but it is also a testament to the period movement that we have come so far as to begin to put musical questions above doctrine or even what we believe is shackled to a current concept of musical style and think first of beauty of expression and communicativeness of idiom.

Haïm’s continuo playing is supportive and completely within Handelian parameters of any age, while the wonderful oboe playing, soft and pliant, of Patrick Beaugiraud must also be mentioned. The other two works are equally persuasive, and this is one disc that really doesn’t see a lot of shelf life, coming down at least once a month in order to rejuvenate the spirit and cleanse the ears. If you love rapturous singing in this most lyrical of all Baroque composers, you will have to have this deserved Hall of Fame cantata recording.

FANFARE: Steven E. Ritter

This new recording of a pair of early Handel cantatas and a lengthy aria from the composer's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (an early serenata not to be confused with his later Acis and Galatea) brings together the remarkable French soprano Natalie Dessay and equally French and remarkable harpsichordist/conductor Emmanuelle Haïm. The former, perhaps better known as a bel canto soprano who is the world's finest Zerbinetta, here enters the realm of Baroque music; since surgery for nodes on her vocal chords a while back she has been looking to leave the above-high-C realm and has developed a new richness at the lower end of her voice. The sound is still beautiful, the technique still astonishing--breath control, diminuendos, messa di voce, sense of rhythm, ease with even the fastest and trickiest fiorature, legato line--all come easily to Dessay. The CD's finest 11 minutes are those devoted to the aria from Aci: a bird flying about reminds the singer of his own loneliness, and solo oboe and violin are prominent. The voice sits high and light; Dessay sings softly and with remarkable warmth, and her interplay with the two instrumentalists is truly great music making. She and Haïm think as one.

The two cantatas are concerned with love either lost or realized, and Dessay and Haïm imbue them with grace and virtuosity in equal parts. Dessay's high notes no longer have the gleam they used to, but that gleam has been replaced with even greater sensitivity to the sculpting of the vocal line, and the listener never feels robbed. What the listener does miss in this recital is incisive diction and a true sense of drama; while the music is being well-served, a certain theatrical abandon is gone. Is this conscious? Were the two women looking for a mellow, chamber-like, understated approach? It's hard to tell. This is not to deter fans of the singer, conductor, or composer, since the music probably has never sounded more ravishing--but I can't help feeling that an unnecessary restraint has been placed on the whole undertaking for the sake of "art".

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Da quel giorno fatale, HWV 99 "Il delirio amoroso" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Natalie Dessay (Soprano), Emmanuelle Haïm (Harpsichord), Stephanie-Marie Degand (Violin),
Héloise Gaillard (Recorder), Patrick Beaugiraud (Oboe), Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord),
Violaine Cochard (Organ), Atsushi Sakai (Cello), Laura Monica Pustilnik (Lute)
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1707-1710; Italy 
Length: 36 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Les Dominicains de Haute Alsace, Guebwiller, France (06/17/2005 - 07/03/2005); L'Eglise du Bon Secours, Paris, France (08/29/2005 - 08/30/2005) 
Mi palpita il cor, HWV 132 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Patrick Beaugiraud (Oboe), Violaine Cochard (Harpsichord), Laura Monica Pustilnik (Lute),
Emmanuelle Haïm (Harpsichord), Atsushi Sakai (Cello), Violaine Cochard (Organ),
Natalie Dessay (Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1707-1710; Italy 
Length: 13 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Les Dominicains de Haute Alsace, Guebwiller, France (06/17/2005 - 07/03/2005); L'Eglise du Bon Secours, Paris, France (08/29/2005 - 08/30/2005) 
Sorgi il dì, HWV 72 "Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo": Qui, L'augel de pianta by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Natalie Dessay (Soprano), Stephanie-Marie Degand (Violin), Patrick Beaugiraud (Oboe)
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708; Italy 
Length: 11 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Les Dominicains de Haute Alsace, Guebwiller, France (06/17/2005 - 07/03/2005); L'Eglise du Bon Secours, Paris, France (08/29/2005 - 08/30/2005) 

Sound Samples

Il Delirio Amoroso: Introduzione
Il Delirio Amoroso: Recitative: Da quel Giorno Fatale
Il Delirio Amoroso: Aria (allegro): Un pensiero voli in ciel
Il Delirio Amoroso: Recitative: Ma fermati pensier
Il Delirio Amoroso: Aria: Per te lasciai la luce
Il Delirio Amoroso: Recitative: non ti bastava ingrato
Il Delirio Amoroso: Aria: Lascia omai le brune vele
Il Delirio Amoroso: Entrée
Il Delirio Amoroso: Minuet: Inquesto a mene piaggie serene
Il Delirio Amoroso: Minuet
Aci, Galatea e Polifemo: Aria: Qui l'augel da pianta in pianta lieto vola (Aci)
Mi palpita il cor: Adagio: Mi palpita il cor
Mi palpita il cor: Allegro: Agitata é l'alma mia
Mi palpita il cor: Recitativo: Tormento e gelosia
Mi palpita il cor: Aria (Largo): Ho tanti affanni in petto
Mi palpita il cor: Recitativo: Clori dite mi lagno
Mi palpita il cor: Aria (Allegro): S'un di m'adora la mia crudele

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