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Handel: Arias / Gauvin, Weimann, Tempo Rubato


Release Date: 10/28/2008 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2589   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HANDEL Arias Karina Gauvin (sop); Alexander Weimann, cond; Tempo Rubato (period instruments) ATMA 2589 (80:18 Text and Translation)


Alexander Balus: Shall Cleopatra ever smile again? . . . O take me from this hateful light. L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: First and chief . . . Sweet bird. Athalia: Read more class="ARIAL12i">Through the land. Hercules: Ah! think what ills. Jephtha: Hide thou thy hated beams . . . Waft her, angels, through the skies. Messiah: Rejoice greatly; I know that my Redeemer liveth. Rinaldo: Lascia chi’o pianga. Samson: Let the bright seraphim. Semele: Now all this scene . . . Where’er you walk; Oh sleep; Hence, Iris, hence away. Solomon: May peace in Salem . . . Will the sun forget to streak. Concerto Grosso, op. 6/5: Allegro


Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin presents a varied selection of arias taken, with one exception, from Handel’s English oratorios. I am previously familiar with her work from two recordings, Handel’s Tolomeo on Archiv and Conradi’s Ariadne on cpo. She has a beautiful, expressive voice and a secure technique that allows her to sing the most florid music easily, even displaying a very good trill, which places her above many of her colleagues in the early-music field. Her singing is not generalized, but conveys the sense of the music chosen, from Cleopatra’s despair in Alexander Balus and Almirena’s sorrow in Rinaldo (the only non-English selection) to the celebration of “Let the bright seraphim” from Samson . Ornaments in da capo arias are tasteful and idiomatic.


I am puzzled at some of the choices she has made for her program. Two of the arias, “Waft, her angels, through the skies” and “Where’er you walk” are tenor arias sung an octave higher. At least these two fit her voice comfortably, which is more than can be said for “Hence, Iris, hence away” from Semele , an aria for Juno, an alto. The vocal range of this aria is too low and sits very uncomfortably on Gauvin’s voice.


Tempo Rubato provides excellent accompaniments, sounding like a bigger band than its relatively small size would lead one to expect. Conductor Alexander Weimann generally conducts well, although in five arias the organ is incorrectly used in place of the harpsichord as the continuo keyboard instrument. Two arias, “Through the land” and “Sweet bird,” have their da capos shortened, possibly to make room for the instrumental selection from Concerto Grosso, op. 6, no. 5 (incorrectly identified as coming from no. 4), though why it is included here I cannot understand . In two short pages in the CD booklet, Mr. Weimann manages to spout some nonsense and convey wrong information. He claims that Alexander’s Feast is Handel’s first oratorio. Discounting Handel’s Italian oratorios, Esther is in fact the first of Handel’s English oratorios. Alexander’s Feast isn’t even an oratorio but an ode.


Despite my quibbles, this recital is very much worth purchasing. Those who are unacquainted with Karina Gauvin’s artistry will be impressed, and those who are familiar with her singing will not need my urging to obtain the opportunity to hear her in this varied repertoire.


FANFARE: Ron Salemi
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Works on This Recording

1.
Samson, HWV 57: Let the bright Seraphim by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1743; London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
2.
Messiah, HWV 56: Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 55 Secs. 
3.
Semele, HWV 58: Where'er you walk by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Rinaldo, HWV 7: Armida dispietata...Lascia ch'io pianga mia cruda sorte by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1711; London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 32 Secs. 
5.
Hercules, HWV 60: Ah! think what ills by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1745; London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 15 Secs. 
6.
Semele, HWV 58: Now all this scene by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Length: 0 Minutes 35 Secs. 
7.
Alexander Balus, HWV 65: Shall Cleopatra ever smile again? by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1748; England 
Length: 0 Minutes 59 Secs. 
8.
Alexander Balus, HWV 65: O take me from this hateful light by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1748; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 25 Secs. 
9.
Semele, HWV 58: Oh sleep by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
10.
Jephtha, HWV 70: Hide thou thy hated beams by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1752; London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
11.
Jephtha, HWV 70: Waft her, angels, through the skies by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1752; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
12.
Athalia, HWV 52: Through the land by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 41 Secs. 
13.
Semele, HWV 58: Hence, Iris, hence away by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
14.
Concerti grossi (12), Op. 6: no 4 in A minor, HWV 322 - Allegro by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1739; London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
15.
L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, HWV 55: First and chief, on golden wing by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1740; London, England 
Length: 0 Minutes 58 Secs. 
16.
L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, HWV 55: Sweet bird, that shun'st the noise of folly by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1740; London, England 
Length: 11 Minutes 40 Secs. 
17.
Solomon, HWV 67: May peace in Salem by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1749; London, England 
Length: 0 Minutes 55 Secs. 
18.
Solomon, HWV 67: Will the sun forget to streak by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1749; London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 26 Secs. 
19.
Messiah, HWV 56: I know that my redeemer liveth by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempo Rubato
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 4 Secs. 

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