Handel, a child of his time, was fascinated by the poignant human dramas and emotions exemplified by Greek and Roman classical myths, dramas, and poetry. A theatre composer to his very bones, he devoted himself to the portrayal of human psychology. He had a special interest in those moments when the human psyche is at its most vulnerable: moments of indecision, struggle, despair, fury, abandonment, betrayal, unhappy love, conflict with friends, enemies, and fate, or longing for the oblivion of death.
The oboe was an instrument especially beloved by Händel. It is the unifying element in the anthology of arias and cantatas recorded here.
Bart Schneemann: Handel, that master creator of goosebumps, can juggle emotions with the greatest of ease; he can make you happy, melancholy, resigned, exuberant. A composer who can make two completely different beings, an oboe and a soprano, fall in love, is one of the great ones.
Johannette Zomer: After my first collaboration with Bart (Blake Songs by Vaughan Williams, ccs 18598 ), what struck me was the way our two instruments, oboe and voice, completely fused together. Bart’s way of making music is so pure, so honest, that making music with him in these dialogue-arias raises my singing to a whole new level.
“It is refreshing to hear Zomer's less 'operatic' voice, with plenty of early music expertise, tackling arias with emotional affinity and stylish eloquence. Schneemann's oboe-playing is an ideally lyrical partner in Berenice's showpiece...Zomer's recital offers plenty to enjoy.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.