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Ton Koopman and his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra return after a long period to the world of the cantata with a disc which sees them record Italian cantatas by Handel for the first time, including the world premiere recording of Cantata HWV 171a.
Sometime in late 1705 or 1706 Georg Friedrich Handel, like many German composers before him, travelled to Italy, then the fountainhead of European music. During the next three years he paid extended visits to Rome and also spent time in Florence, Venice and Naples. In 1709-10, he returned once again to Florence and Venice. Rather than studying with some Italian master, as others had done, he quickly established himself as a virtuoso performer and composer, enjoying the support of leading patrons and composing numerous cantatas.
Lost music from Handel’s years in Italy rarely comes to light, but in 2015 a previously unknown and largely different version of the cantata “Tu fedel? tu costante?”, HWV 171, was discovered by chance, uniquely preserved in a manuscript belonging to Ton Koopman. A complaint of an injured love, both Handel settings of this text are for soprano, but in the new cantata, HWV 171a, the accompanying ensemble includes an oboe and after the first aria, it sharply diverges from the familiar version. HWV 171a was probably composed in Venice or Florence in late 1706.
Organist, harpsichordist and conductor Ton Koopman, one of the world’s leading exponents of Baroque music, founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra in 1979. They have appeared with him on countless recordings, among them his two most ambitious projects: the complete Bach cantatas, a massive undertaking for which he was awarded the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis “Echo Klassik”, a BBC Music Magazine Award and the Hector Berlioz Prize, and the Opera Omnia of Bach’s predecessor, Dieterich Buxtehude, an edition of 30 CDs recorded between 2005-2014. In 2003 he founded his own label Antoine Marchand, a sub-label of Challenge Classics.
George Frideric Handel: Tu fedel, tu costante, HWV 171a
Recitativo Tu fedel? tu costante?
Aria Cento belle ami, Fileno
Recitativo L’occhio nero vivace
Aria Se Licori, Filli ed io
Recitativo Ma se non hai più d’un sol core
Aria Se non ti piace amarmi
Recitativo Ma il tuo genio incostante
Aria Sì, crudel, ti lascerò
George Frideric Handel: Tacete, ohimè, tacete, HWV 196
Tacete, ohimè, tacete!
Non sia voce importuna
Sol quando dorme Amore
George Frideric Handel: Dalla guerra amorosa, HWV 102a
Recitativo Dalla guerra amorosa
Aria Non v’alletti un’occhio nero
Recitativo Fuggite, sí fuggite
Aria La bellezza è come un Fiore
Recitativo Fuggite, sì fuggite
George Frideric Handel: Pensieri notturni di Filli
Nel dolce dell’oblio, HWV 134: Recitativo Nel dolce dell’oblio
Nel dolce dell’oblio, HWV 134: Aria Giacché il sonno a lei dipinge
Nel dolce dell’oblio, HWV 134: Recitativo Così fida ella vive al cuor
Nel dolce dell’oblio, HWV 134: Aria Ha l’inganno il suo diletto
George Frideric Handel: Giù nei Tartarei regni, HWV 187
Giù nei Tartarei regni
Io ch’ardendo mi sfaccio
George Frideric Handel: Aure soavi, e liete, HWV 84
Recitativo Aure soavi e liete
Aria Care luci, che l’alba rendete
Recitativo Pietà, Clori, pietà!
Arietta Un aura flebile
George Frideric Handel: Cuopre tal volta il cielo, HWV 98
Accompagnato Cuopre tal volta il cielo
Aria Tuona, ballena, sibila il vento
Recitativo Così fiera procella dà rio tormento
Aria Per pietà di miei martiri
Interview with Ton Koopman about rediscovery of Händel's Cantata HWV 171a (with subtitles)
“Encouraged by the graceful, animated playing of Koopman’s period band, Yetzabel Arias Fernandez deploys her ‘straight’, slightly mezzo-ish soprano with taste and refinement…[Mertens is] always musical…all the while the Amsterdam players are a buoyant presence whether in the energising continuo or the beautifully turned obbligatos”