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Il Duello Amoroso - Handel / Dantone, Scholl, Et Al


Release Date: 04/10/2007 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 901957   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Hélène GuilmetteAndreas Scholl
Conductor:  Ottavio Dantone
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Bizantina Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Certainly fans of countertenor Andreas Scholl and lovers of Handel's Italian cantatas will not be disappointed with this new release. Scholl's voice retains its clear, fluid, golden-toned beauty, and he absolutely owns these little dramas centered around the common themes of the quest for love (or attempts to avoid its "cruel trap"). On hearing the very early cantata Vedendo Amor, you can't help being overcome with the sheer loveliness of the melodic invention (and the correspondingly lovely singing!) in the aria "Camminando lei pian piano...", and it's always a pleasure to be reminded that the Op. 2 No. 1 trio sonata, an effective complement to the vocal works, contains some of Handel's finest music in the chamber Read more instrumental genre.

Mi palpita il cor is a favorite of singers--both in its soprano and alto versions--and it has several fine recordings, including those by mezzo/alto Stephanie Houtzeel and Marie-Nicole Lemieux (for reviews, type Q8037 and Q5991, respectively in Search Reviews) and soprano Emma Kirkby. This one joins the list, although I'm not very fond of Scholl's habit of articulating fast runs with h's before each note.

I'm also not wild about soprano Hélène Guilmette, who joins Scholl for the big number, the cantata known both as Amarilli vezzosa (charming Amaryllis) or Il duello amoroso (the amorous duel). Her voice is just a bit too bright in places, and her frequently uneven tone quality and erratic dynamic control, especially in her opening recit and aria, give an unsettling nervous cast to her singing. Perhaps she's just caught up in the effort to depict the mocking nature of her character, but interestingly these qualities nearly disappear from her delivery at the end of the cantata when she sings with Scholl--and ultimately their final "duel" is very well done. The sound is ideal, with instruments and voices well-placed and faithfully captured in a complementary studio acoustic.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Amarilli vezzosa, HWV 82 "Il duello amoroso" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Hélène Guilmette (Soprano), Andreas Scholl (Alto)
Conductor:  Ottavio Dantone
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Bizantina Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708; Italy 
2.
Nel dolce tempo by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Andreas Scholl (Alto)
Conductor:  Ottavio Dantone
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Bizantina Orchestra
3.
Vedendo amor, HWV 175 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Andreas Scholl (Alto)
Conductor:  Ottavio Dantone
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Bizantina Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1707-1710; Italy 
4.
Trio Sonata for Flute/Violin, Violin and Basso Continuo in B minor, HWV 386b/Op 2 no 1(b) by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Bizantina Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1727; London, England 
5.
Mi palpita il cor, HWV 132 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Andreas Scholl (Alto)
Conductor:  Ottavio Dantone
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Bizantina Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1707-1710; Italy 

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