One of the greatest composers of the Baroque era, George Frideric Handel was born in Germany but spent most of his career living in London. He was something of a celebrity in his day – a status he enjoyed thanks to his prolific cultivation of opera. Also ranking among Handel’s large vocal output are his cantatas, works that form the focus of this release.
The disc brings together two different versions of Handel’s two lesser-known cantatas, and includes the first ever recording of the two versions of Mira Lilla gentile. Largely neglected until now, these latter works tell the story of a young man’s unrequited love for Lilla, and while the earlier version contains a soprano solo alternating with a violin, the later version sees this instrument replaced by a cello. The second pair of cantatas comprises the anonymous La caduta di Icaro and Handel’s Tra le fiamme HWV170 – both of which use the same libretto by Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili. Here the CD switches from heartbreak to counsel against pride; with the text declaiming the legend of Icarus and Daedalus, Tra le fiamme is particularly striking for its rich assortment of instruments.
Soprano Valentina Varriale has been praised for her ‘highly focused tone’ (International Record Review, April 2011). Having studied at the Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella in Naples, she has since performed a variety of roles with numerous opera companies and has appeared as Zeza in a filmed version of Leonardo Leo’s L’Alidoro. In her first recording for Brilliant classics, she is joined by members of MVSICA PERDVTA.
- The World Premiere of Handel’s Cantata “Mira Lilla gentile”, recorded 2010–2012, Rome.
- World premiere recording of Mira Lilla gentile.
- Soprano Valentina Varriale is an upcoming star in the Early Music scene, she sings in opera productions of Jordi Savall and Ottavio Dantone, and has recently performed in the Festivals of Salzburg, Edinburgh and Dresden.
- Performed on original instruments.
- Contains booklet notes on each of the pieces.