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Handel: German Arias; Purcell, Buxtehude, Blow / Iestyn Davies

Davies / Ensemble Guada
Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Wigmore Hall Live   Catalog #: 38   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dietrich BuxtehudeHenry PurcellGeorge Frideric HandelSpoken Word,   ... 
Performer:  Iestyn Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HANDEL 9 German Arias , HWV 202–10 & Iestyn Davies (ct); Guadagni Ens (period instruments) WIGMORE HALL LIVE 0038 (76:46 Text and Translation) Live: London 6/6/2009


& BLOW As on His Deathbed Gasping Strephon Lay. BUXTEHUDE Jubilate Domino Read more class="ARIAL12">, BuxWV 64. PURCELL An Evening Hymn , Z 193. Gentle Shepherds, You That Know , Z 464 . What a Sad Fate Is Mine , Z 428a


This disc presents a concert given at Wigmore Hall by countertenor Iestyn Davies in 2009. Handel’s Nine German Arias are the major focus of the concert. Handel’s songs are preceded by a Buxtehude cantata and several English songs, with another Purcell song as an encore. In choosing works for this concert, Davies has mostly invaded the soprano repertoire, and most of the selections have been transposed down for him. Other changes involve substituting viola da gamba for the second voice needed in Purcell’s Gentle Shepherds and in assigning the bass of Blow’s elegy to the lute.


We do not know the occasion for which the Nine German Arias were written. They were composed around 1724–26 and are the last works Handel set to a German text. The text is taken from a collection of cantata texts by Barthold Heinrich Brockes, whose passion text Handel had set around 1716. The score is written in three lines, obbligato instrument, soprano voice, and bass. Although violin is the only instrument that can comfortably encompass the obbligato line, it is sometimes assigned to flute or oboe with adjustments. The bass most often is given to cello and keyboard, usually harpsichord, sometimes organ.


Ensemble Guadagni consists of four instrumentalists playing violin, viola da gamba, theorbo, and keyboard (harpsichord and organ). For these performances, the violin takes the obbligato instrument line for all but one of the songs, the exception being HWV 204, where the viola takes its place, leaving the bass to theorbo and organ.


Iestyn Davies has a beautiful voice. He is one of the best countertenors before the public. I have never heard a bad or indifferent performance from him. His technique is assured, his singing of florid music smooth and effortless. Da capo ornaments are generally tasteful. Ensemble Guadagni provides excellent support, though I think the theorbo is a bit too prominent and overused. I assume that anyone considering purchasing this disc will be attracted by the singer or will be looking to acquire the Handel songs. The remaining music on the disc is as well performed as the Handel.


There are nine competing versions of Handel’s Nine German Arias listed at ArkivMusic.com, all sung by sopranos. Pride of place goes to Carolyn Sampson and The King’s Consort on Hyperion. Other worthy recordings include Emma Kirkby and London Baroque on BIS, and Arlene Augér on Berlin. Of the other works, only the Blow elegy is not listed at ArkivMusic.com.


I cannot say that we were in need of a recording of the Handel songs transposed down for countertenor. But it is hard to argue with success. This beautifully sung concert is well worth investigating.


FANFARE: Ron Salemi
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Works on This Recording

1.
Jubilate Domino, omnis terra, BuxWV 64 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Iestyn Davies (Counter Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1672; Lübeck, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 46 Secs. 
2.
Gentle shepherds, you that know, Z 464 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Iestyn Davies (Counter Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1687; England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 54 Secs. 
3.
What a sad fate is mine, Z 428 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1694; England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
4.
German Arias (9): no 1, Künft'ger Zeiten eitler, HWV 202 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; London, England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
5.
German Arias (9): no 7, Die ihr aus dunkeln Grüften, HWV 208 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; London, England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 3 Secs. 
6.
German Arias (9): no 4, Süsse Stille, sanfte Quelle, HWV 205 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; London, England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
7.
German Arias (9): no 3, Süsser blumen Ambraflöcken, HWV 204 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; London, England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 2 Secs. 
8.
German Arias (9): no 2, Das zitternde Glänzen, HWV 203 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; London, England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
9.
German Arias (9): no 5, Singe Seele, Gott zum Preise, HV 206 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; London, England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 47 Secs. 
10.
German Arias (9): no 6, Meine Seele hört im Sehen, HWV 207 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; London, England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 45 Secs. 
11.
German Arias (9): no 8, In den angenehmen, HWV 209 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; London, England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 41 Secs. 
12.
German Arias (9): no 9, Flammende Rose, Zierde..., HWV 210 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724-1727; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 48 Secs. 
13.
Announcement by Spoken Word
Length: 0 Minutes 10 Secs. 
14.
Now that the sun hath veiled his light, Z 193 "Evening Hymn on a Ground" by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1688; England 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
15.
As on his deathbed gasping Strephon lay (Elegy on the Earl of Rochester), for voice & continuo by John Blow
Performer:  Iestyn Davies ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Guadagni
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1681 
Date of Recording: 06/06/2009 
Venue:  Live  Wigmore Hall, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 

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