While virtually unknown in the U.S., pop singer Jennifer Rush achieved superstar status as an expatriate in Europe, selling millions of records and releasing a string of hit singles notable for their booming, dance-rock arrangements and Rush's powerful voice. She released a series of songs that made her a star in Europe, including "Into My Dreams," "Come Give Me Your Hand," "25 Lovers," and "Ring of Ice." In 1985, Rush scored a massive European hit with "The Power of Love," which became one of the longest-running chart-toppers in U.K. history. She continued to retain a large European following throughout the rest of the '80s and '90s, collaborating with writers such as Desmond Child and Diane Warren and performing with high-profile acts like Michael Bolton and Placido Domingo. Despite selling millions of albums abroad, most of her albums have not been released in the U.S.
This Naxos disc is a coupling of two recordings originally issued by Koch. Both the recordings were part of Robert Craft's continuation of the complete Stravinsky edition he had begun on MusicMasters. Craft's second Oedipus Rex is less than entirely compelling. Martyn Hill is a virile Oedipus and Jennifer Lane is a noble Jocasta, but Craft is a bit too restrained in his rhetoric and a tad too reserved in his dramatics.
Every child who ever learnt the recorder or played in a school orchestra will probably know the famous ‘Minuet’ included in the Overture, but they can be forgiven for knowing little else from the work since it is so rarely performed. That its premiere in London in 1737 was a failure had little to do with Handel’s score but more with a growing public indifference to Italian opera. The music, as seasoned Handelians will not need to be told, is of high quality (though not perhaps at once among his most alluring scores), and Antonio Salvis’s libretto, concerned with politics and romance, provides the composer with opportunity for lively duets and evocative ‘simile’ arias. The cast is strong, though not uniformly so, with soprano Julianne Baird in the title role. Her passionate and unusually constructed ‘Chi t’intende?’ (Act III), with its notably elaborate oboe obbligato, and her duet with soprano Jennifer Lane (Demetrio) at the end of Act I are two of the highlights of opera and performance alike, while mezzo D’Anna Fortunato’s ‘Tortorella’ aria (Selene, Act III) is another. Rudolph Palmer sets effective tempi and the Brewer Chamber Orchestra of period instruments (woodwind and strings), though responsive to his direction, is on occasion lacking in tonal warmth. (Nicholas Anderson)
The cantate francaise flourished during the first half of the eighteenth century. Morin and Bernier were among the most interesting early exponents of it, Campra, Monteclair, Clerambault and Rameau among the most impressive. Indeed, it is generally recognized that the cantate francaise reached its zenith in the hands of Clerambault. He is represented on this new disc by Le Soleil, vainqueur des nuages. It appeared in none of the composer’s five published collections of chamber cantatas but was issued separately in 1721