I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Handel: Sonatas and Cantatas

#alttext# This CD of music by Handel performed by Gemma Bertagnolli and Alfredo Bernardini's Zefiro ensemble caught my eye this past November, in the FNAC store I visited in Paris. The recording features seven works, including: * HWV 388 * HWV 390 * HWV 393 * HWV 392 which are trio sonatas for oboes. For the soprano, cantatas: * HWV 132b * HWV 207 * HWV 85 (Venus & Adonis) As some readers know, I rarely follow the story, words, or meaning in singing. I could be scolded as a musicologist or even an aesthete, but that's me... if I've got the time, I'll pull out the liner notes, and begin to admire how a composer has shaped a line, or moulded words to the music. But more often than not, I'm listening for the quality of the voice, and the pure musical sound. This recording works well on this front - Bertagnolli has a nice voice, and she and Bernardini chose strong works from Handel's oeuvre. What's now becoming a signature sound for Zefiro, is captured in the sonatas. Each of the tempi is well chosen, and as a recital, the instrumental works operate nicely inner-woven between the vocal works for a "recital" type presentation. Clean yet expressive playing, a clear recorded sound, and careful attention to the content of the music for choosing appropriate tempi. All around, these aren't Handel's most famous works. But it's well played, and it offers up probably what is Handel's lesser-known side outside of his large oratorio (The Messiah), and maybe his keyboard works and larger orchestral concerti.

Busoni Chaconne