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Handel: Italian Cantatas, Etc / Lemieux, Beauséjour


Release Date: 11/19/2002 
Label:  Analekta   Catalog #: 23161   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Marie-Nicole LemieuxLuc BeauséjourMarie-Céline LabbéAmanda Keesmaat
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews


Here's one of those releases that send reviewers--and presumably anyone who has the good fortune to hear this outstanding disc--scrambling for biographical information, for some indication as to where such a phenomenal singer came from, where she is now, and what will be the chances of hearing more, much more. You only have to wait a few seconds at the start of this Handel program to know that Marie-Nicole Lemieux is a major talent, an artist of the first rank, a commanding presence and a thrilling interpreter of this repertoire. And a look at her bio suggests that Handel isn't her only forte, but also Mozart, Verdi, Gluck, and Wagner--and in the year 2000 she stormed through several prestigious
Read more festivals, winning first prizes, including the Special Lied Prize at the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium. One of her more recent appearances was as soloist on Dorian's Mozart Requiem recording, with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec.


Those who pay attention to such things will note that Lemieux is another in an impressive list of world-class Canadian singers, including Isabel Bayrakdarian, Ben Heppner, Daniel Taylor, Karina Gauvin, Nathan Berg, and Catherine Robbin. Her ease of delivery, solidity and consistency of tone across registers, gorgeously formed vowels, elegantly, thoughtfully shaped phrases, virtuosic control, rich, luscious timbre--and seeming joy in all that she sings--makes this recital a pure delight and rare artistic achievement. Of course, all is not "perfect" from this relatively young singer--she drops a few notes from the furious runs in the opening "Mi palpita il cor" (Emma Kirkby's soprano rendition from the early 1980s on L'Oiseau Lyre is as close to flawless as anyone could hope for) and you can imagine even more technical refinement and interpretive character that will come with experience and maturity.


However, you can't help but be amazed when you hear the natural, unbridled sensuousness conveyed in her singing of the slower arias and the sheer crackling fire that bursts forth in the more emphatic, agitated sections. Her sound and manner are similar in quality and presence to another sensational young contralto, Stephanie Blythe. And in my book that's a profound compliment. The disc's other selections--instrumental pieces that add appropriate variety to the rest of the program--are expertly played, highlighted by a robust yet very ear-pleasing harpsichord and a similarly appealing baroque flute and cello. These same players prove ideal partners when joined with Lemieux in the vocal works. Singers, vocal music lovers, and all who want to hear one of this century's most significant and promising voices--don't miss this. [12/21/2002]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Mi palpita il cor, HWV 132 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), Marie-Céline Labbé (Flute),
Amanda Keesmaat (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1707-1710; Italy 
Language: Italian 
2.
Suite for Harpsichord in E major, HWV 430 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
3.
Irene, idolo mio, HWV 120b by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Amanda Keesmaat (Cello), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
Language: Italian 
4.
Sonata for Flute and Basso Continuo in D major, HWV 378 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Amanda Keesmaat (Cello), Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), Marie-Céline Labbé (Flute)
Period: Baroque 
5.
Lungi da me pensier tiranno, HWV 125 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Amanda Keesmaat (Cello), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1709; Italy 
Language: Italian 
6.
Water Music Suite no 1 in F major, HWV 348: no 6, Air by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715-1717; London, England 
7.
Fra pensieri quel pensiero, HWV 115 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), Amanda Keesmaat (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Language: Italian 

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