Handel: Tra le fiamme, HWV170; Pensieri Notturni di Filli, HWV134; Il delirio amoroso, HWV90; Figlio d’alte speranze, HWV113

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COMPOSERS: Handel
LABELS: Glossa
ALBUM TITLE: Handel
WORKS: Tra le fiamme, HWV170; Pensieri Notturni di Filli, HWV134; Il delirio amoroso, HWV90; Figlio d’alte speranze, HWV113
PERFORMER: Roberta Invernizzi (soprano); La Risonanza/Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: GCD 921521
The four chamber cantatas assembled here open a window on to Handel’s Italian period, crucial to the formation of his mature style and where he enjoyed the patronage of some of Italy’s wealthiest families. One of these was the Pamphili in Rome, whose leading member at the time, Cardinal Pamphili, was the author of the texts of the two best known of the present cantatas, Tra le fiamme and Il delirio amoroso. Both pieces date from 1707 and feature a diversity of scoring that includes oboe and recorder(s). In addition, Tra le fiamme contains an important part for viola da gamba in each of its four arias, the last of which is a reprise of the opening number, one of Handel’s many memorable simile arias (in which a character compares their situation to that of a generic type, such as a shepherdess or steersman). The dates and whereabouts of the remaining two cantatas are conjectural.

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Roberta Invernizzi is thoroughly at home with the expressive nuances and stylistic vocabulary of the late Baroque; yet her pitching of notes is not entirely a happy affair. Her lightly articulated declamation, though, makes some amends for a weakness of intonation and the overall impression is a mainly favourable one. Greater strengths are demonstrated by La Risonanza under Fabio Bonizzoni’s direction. The accomplished players of his ensemble provide Invernizzi with sympathetic support and, when called for, which is often, spectacularly accomplished obbligatos. In summary, while I have mild reservations from time to time about Invernizzi’s contribution, the programme as a whole comes over tolerably well with plenty to admire and to enjoy. Nicholas Anderson