Haydn: Il ritorno di Tobia

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Haydn: Il ritorno di Tobia



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29th Oct 2007




2 hours 48 minutes


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Haydn: Il ritorno di Tobia

Oratorio in Two Parts, Hob. XXI/1 (1775/1784)

Roberta Invernizzi (soprano), Sophie Karthäuser (soprano), Ann Hallenberg (alto), Anders J. Dahlin (tenor) & Nikolay Borchev (bass)

Capella Augustina & VokalEnsemble Köln, Andreas Spering

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Franz Joseph Haydn: Il ritorno di Tobia (The Return of Tobias), Hob.XXI:1

Part I: Sinfonia

Part I: Pieta d'un'infelice (Anna, Tobit, Ebrei)

Part I: Recitative: Ne comparisce, o Dio! (Anna, Tobit)

Part I: Aria: Sudo il guerriero (Anna)

Part I: Recitative: Deh modera il dolor (Tobit)

Part I: Aria: Ah tu m'ascolta (Tobit)

Part I: Recitative: Non e quello Azaria (Anna, Raffaelle)

Part I: Aria: Anna, m'ascolta! (Raffaelle)

Part I: Recitative: Che disse? (Anna)

Part I: Aria: Ah gran Dio (Anna)

Part I: Ah gran Dio! (Ebrei)

Part I: Recitative: Sara, mia dolce sposa (Tobia, Sara)

Part I: Aria: Quando mi dona un cenno (Tobia)

Part I: Recitative: Somme grazie ti rendo (Sara)

Part I: Aria: Del caro sposo (Sara)

Part I: Recitative: Rivelarti a Dio piacque (Raffaelle, Tobit, Sara, Anna, Tobia)

Part I: Odi le nostre voci (Ebrei, Tobia, Anna, Tobit, Sara, Raffaelle)

Part II: Recitative: Oh della santa fe stupendi effetti! (Anna, Sara, Raffaelle)

Part II: Aria: Come se a voi parlasse (Raffaelle)

Part II: Recitative: Ad Azaria nel volto (Anna, Sara)

Part II: Aria: Non parmi esser fra gl'uomini (Sara)

Part II: Recitative: Che soave parlar! (Anna, Tobia)

Part II: Aria: Quel felice nocchier (Tobia)

Part II: Recitative: Giusta brama l'affretta (Anna)

Part II: Aria: Come in sogno un stuol m'apparve (Anna)

Part II: Svanisce in un momento (Ebrei)

Part II: Recitative: Ah dove corri, oh padre? (Tobia, Tobit, Raffaelle)

Part II: Aria: Invan lo chiedi, amico (Tobit)

Part II: Recitative: Che fulmine improvviso! (Tobia, Anna)

Part II: Duet: Dunque, oh Dio, quando sperai (Tobia, Anna)

Part II: Recitative: Qui di morir si parla (Sara, Anna, Tobia, Tobit, Raffaelle)

Part II: Quartet: Io non oso alzar (Sara, Anna, Tobia, Tobit, Ebrei) - Otterem gloria maggiore e maggior felicita (Ebrei)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“Probably no major Haydn work is harder to 'sell' today than his Italian oratorio Il ritorno di Tobia, composed for a Viennese benevolent society during the winter of 1774-75. Far from being a prototype Creation and Seasons, Tobia is in effect a sacred opera seria, powered by a succession of gargantuan arias, with, in its original version, just three choruses for contrast. For a 1784 revival Haydn spruced it up with two extra choral numbers, including a cataclysmic 'storm' chorus that has become well known as the motet Insanae et vanae curae.
The prime stumbling-block is the libretto by Giovanni Gastone Boccherini, brother of the more famous Luigi. With its murders, monsters and miracles, the story of Tobias from the Apocrypha could have been a composer's gift.
Instead, Boccherini laboriously observes Classical convention and sets Tobias's adventures entirely in the past tense. When Tobias and his new wife, the serially widowed Sara (husbands one to seven have all been murdered by the demon Asmodeus), eventually appear, the action grinds forward with stultifying slowness, weighed down by reams of sententious moralising.
'Delay could prove fatal', says Tobias to his mother Anna as he prepares to cure his father Tobit's cataract with the gall of a sea monster.
He then launches into an eight-minute 'parable' aria, to which his mother rejoinders, 'A just sense of urgency spurs him on'.
Yet while Tobia is a virtual non-starter dramatically, Haydn's music is carefully and elaborately composed and, provided you can adjust to the leisurely time-frame, often inspired. The choruses are all superb, the arias inventive and vastly challenging. They include spectacular vocal concertos, enlivened by Haydn's genius for tone-painting, a dulcet E major love song for Tobias, and a terrific F minor 'nightmare' scene for Anna. The oratorio's jewel, though, is Sara's radiant 'Non parmi essere', with its luxurious concertante writing for flutes, oboes, cors anglais, bassoons and horns.
This new recording is even better than that the old (and long-deleted) Dorati version. The pacing is generally sharper (crucial in the many accompanied recitatives), while the period instruments of the Capella Augustina make for altogether tangier, more transparent sonorities than Dorati's smoothly upholstered RPO.
Valveless brass lour and exult in the choral numbers, while the faintly breathy, bucolic period woodwind carol enchantingly in “Non parmi essere”. This aria is exquisitely sung by the pellucid- toned Sophie Karthäuser, a true classical stylist, who negotiates the coloratura in her opening aria with grace and panache. The other female singers match her in virtuosity and vocal allure. The bell-toned Roberta Invernizzi is properly dazzling in the flamboyant arias for the (disguised) Archangel Raphael, while mezzo Ann Hallenberg uses the text imaginatively and brings a ferocious intensity to her nightmare aria, abetted by Spering's dangerous energy and the baleful colouring of brass and cors anglais. In the predominantly lyrical role of Tobit, Nikolay Borchev impresses with his warm, soft-grained bass and sympathetic phrasing. Only the pleasant but protein-deficient tenor of Anders Dahlin, as Tobias, leaves one wanting more. The choral singing is fresh and eager, though, as so often, the recorded balance rather favours the orchestra. There is also too much pingy harpsichord continuo for some tastes. But these are minor drawbacks in a stunning performance of some glorious, under-valued music. Haydn lovers should snap it up as a matter of urgency.”

Gramophone Magazine

February 2008

“…a stunning performance of some glorious, under-valued music. Haydn lovers should snap it up as a matter of urgency.”

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