Even though it has hardly been performed and rarely recorded “L’Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato” has to be counted as one of Handel’s most beautiful and musically valuable oratorios. Its lack of popularity is solely due to the complexities of performance and the un-dramatic subject matter. In so doing, Handel bestowed some of his best music upon Charles Jennen’s reworking of John Milton’s text. With this recording, Peter Neumann together with the Cologne Chamber Choir and the Collegium Cartusianum have brought this wonderful work to life, guaranteeing that it will sit proudly amongst the other oratorio works of Handel.
Following in their series of Gramophone Award and BBC Music Magazine Award winning recordings, Gabrieli’s first Handel recording in over a decade is particularly special – recreating in painstaking detail the very first performance of L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, given in 1740, with additional instrumental repertoire including a Handel organ concerto and two concerti grossi. With a reputation as peerless Handelians, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & players bring meticulous research to every performance and recording project, and are joined on this disc by a stunning selection of soloists.