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A dramatic collection of solo arias and scenes for tenor drawn for oratorio and opera - some of Handel's most lovely music, brilliantly performed by Mark Padmore and The English Concert, led by Andrew Manze. The concluding duet As steals the morn with soprano Lucy Crowe is an added bonus.
Handel: Alceste - Act 4: Enjoy The Sweet Elysian Grove
Handel: Semele - Act 2, Sc. 3: Where'er You Walk
Handel: Il Trionfo Del Tempo E Del Disinganno - Urne Voi
Handel: Tamerlano - Act 1, Sc. 1: Forte E Lieto
Handel: Tamerlano - Act 3, Sc. 10: Oh Per Me Lieto, Avventuroso Giorno!
Handel: Jephtha - Act 2, Sc. 2: Heav'n Smiles Once More
Handel: Jephtha - Act 2, Sc. 2: His Mighty Arm
Handel: Jephtha - Act 3, Sc. 1: Waft Her, Angels
Handel: L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Ed Il Moderato - As Steals The Morn
“Tenors are fighter pilots - dashing, heroic, unhappy out of the limelight - and Padmore is an ace among them, soaring through this disc on a velvet voice in various Handelian guises. Semele falls for
his smooth flattery in Where'er you walk', though he decelerates after the intro speed set by The English Consort under Andrew Manze. His blinded Samson is harrowingly persuasive in 'Total Eclipse',
he shows off impressive no-breath acrobatics in Jephtha and dramatises outrageously in the Tameriano extract. The alto Robin Blaze and the soprano Lucy Crow are his top-notch, bit-part crew.”
“Underpinned by Andrew Manze's unobtrusive and warm-hearted English Concert, Mark Padmore uses his extraordinary diction and whispering chamber-like intimacy to remind us that the most exalted tenor arias from Handel's operas and oratorios can achieve true potency out of context. Favourites like 'Where'er you walk' and 'Waft her, angels' appear to grow out of this varied programme without the sense of being lifted for a compilation; Padmore is a master of taste, restraint and unassuming gesture. 'Pastorello d'un povero' is a touching vignette and the soft singing elsewhere contributes to a concentrated and affecting juxtaposition of human vice and virtue in the Tamerlano scenas. As throughout, Padmore saves the greatest emotional impact for the da capos where coloration reaches new heights. Indeed, it is the joy in conveying the emotional core of each situation which marks out this disc. Graphic dramatic effects abound (not least the Sultan's gradual giving up the ghost in 'Figlia mia' with a croaking realism) but this is a disc which celebrates Handel's capacity for incisive human observation, achieved more through reflective means than showpiece coloratura. It's a persuasive and thoughtful approach. Padmore's lowest register can seem a touch insubstantial but this is a small gripe in a disc boasting – as its parting shot – the duet 'As steals the morn', a performance with the fine Lucy Crowe at her most alluring.”
“Handel was one of the first Baroque composers to invest his talents in the tenor voice and here this unique English legacy is recalled. Through his shading, dynamic range and commitment to the text, Padmore seduces the listener.”
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