„… the release of a special audiophile treat. It is not without reason that French critics have just awarded the choir the ‘Diapason d’or’ prize.“ (K Int’l)
From bar one, I felt an assurance and naturalness about the rhythms, a clarity and tonal richness in the orchestral and vocal texture, a stylishness of phrasing and embellishment, and a sheer zest and power of dramatic presentation that add up to a totally convincing and gripping whole. […] Neumann and his team have excelled themselves, and so has Handel, and anyone who thinks 18th-century music wanting in musico-dramatic force is urged to acquire this magnificent set without delay.
…Against the competition, this new German recording rates very high. It is certainly superior to Harnoncourt's heavily cut and somewhat mannered Teldec reissue.
Little by little, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (1740) is gaining recognition as one of Handel's masterpieces. The idea of interleaving passages from John Milton's twinned poems delineating two extremes of human temperament clearly inspired the composer; the actual literary work was done initially by James Harris and amended by Charles Jennens. The composer also had Jennens pen a final section praising the integration of "Mirth" and "Melancholy" into "Moderation."
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), He cast his concertos - almost a hundred are known to exist - in the traditional form of the four-movement suite (slow-fast-slow-fast), but also used the three-movement form established by Vivaldi. Although the slow movements disclose a greater degree of originality, the fast ones are more effective. In some of Telemann's concertos, the character of the themes and the structure of the movements point beyond the Baroque style to the early Classical period (e.g. the last movement of the Concerto for Oboe d'amore). The distinctive harmonies of some of the parts also underscore Telemann's opinion that, although the possibilities of melodic invention may become exhausted, it is always possible to vary the harmony.
A hit in its first run in 1726, in London and elsewhere, Alessandro has had less success in our day. It is a demanding and lengthy work. The story moves quickly and is fairly silly, and meant to be. This Alexander conquers Ossidraca during the overture, but manages to bungle his subsequent amatory assaults, which constitute the rest of the opera. All manages to end well for him in the nick of time, however, as a good lieto fine requires. The performance takes just over three hours, though Bernd Feuchtner, the author of the notes, claims that London audiences in 1726 were in the theater for five.
This recording is the first official release in any format of this once-in-a-lifetime concert performance featuring Dame Joan Sutherland and Fritz Wunderlich. In 1959 performances of Handel were just beginning to embrace the original instrument movement making this recording an invaluable historic record of performance practice. In addition to musicological interest, the CDs present Joan Sutherland at the beginning of her illustrious career in the full bloom of youth. She was flown in as a last minute replacement for the scheduled soprano and proceeded to give a virtuoso performance of the demanding title role. Full of Handel's gorgeous melodies and with vocal fireworks in bountiful supply, it is no wonder that Sutherland completely awed the German public. She is joined by Fritz Wunderlich, the acclaimed German tenor, in their one-and-only collaboration. He as well was a last minute replacement and rises to the exacting demands of Handel. His rich and pliant tone is perfectly suited to the technical and dramatic demands of the opera.
"Poro, re dell'Indie" (HWV 28) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. The Italian-language libretto was adapted from Alessandro nell'Indie by Metastasio, and based on Alexander the Great's encounter with King Porus in 326 BC. The libretto had already been set to music by Leonardo Vinci in 1729 and by Antonio Vivaldi among others and was used as the text for more than sixty operas throughout the 18th century. The opera was first given at the King's Theatre in London on 2 February 1731 and on 15 further occasions. A run of 16 performances was a mark of success for the time as is the fact that the work was revived on 23 December 1731, and again in a revised form on 8 December 1736. It was also given in Hamburg and Brunswick.