Notes and Editorial Reviews
9 German Arias. Trio Sonatas: in F,
Tempesta di Mare C Players; Julianne Baird (sop)
CHANDOS 743 (69:14
Text and Translation)
Handel’s group of nine German arias, composed in London in the mid 1720s, is unique in his vocal output. They are not big display pieces, and they are not excerpts from operas or oratorios. In fact, we don’t know much about the purpose
behind their composition. Catriona MacLeod’s excellent notes make a good case for these having been written for private in-home performances, like the trio sonatas with which Chandos fills out this disc. These are significantly more intimate and inward-looking arias than much of Handel’s vocal writing, reflective in nature—and also chamber-like in the musical relationships between voice and instruments.
This is a lovely recording of this group of arias, but it has stiff competition. On Harmonia Mundi 901689, the great German lyric soprano Dorothea Röschmann recorded these with the Academy of Ancient Music of Berlin, and I find that disc preferable. Röschmann has a liquid beauty in her voice and a warmth of personality that makes you feel as if she is singing each song just to you. Her tone positively glows, and she manages a wide range of color while remaining inside the confines of acceptable Baroque performance style. Baird is very fine here, but with somewhat less varied inflection and tone color, and a voice that is perhaps just a bit less distinguished than Röschmann.
The Harmonia Mundi disc is filled out with Telemann Flute Quartets, which are no more or less appropriate than the Handel trio sonatas here, and the Berlin musicians are the equal of the spirited Tempesta di Mare Chamber Players from Philadelphia. Chandos provides complete texts and translations, wonderfully warm and natural recorded sound, and, as indicated, superb notes. While I slightly prefer the Röschmann version of these arias, this is a delightful and satisfying disc on its own terms.
FANFARE: Henry Fogel
Works on This Recording
German Arias (9) by George Frideric Handel
Julianne Baird (Soprano)
Tempesta di Mare
Written: 1724-1727; London, England
Length: 47 Minutes 2 Secs.
Be the first to review this title