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This is one of those albums for people who love Baroque music but who want to enter the realm of the lesser known works. Though Natalie Dessay has become a star on the opera stage, here she collaborates with Emmanuelle Haïm conducting Le Concert D'Astree in three cantatas for soprano and instruments. The result is a CD of enormous beauty and grace and one that deserves awards in every category of music making!
There are three works on this well engineered CD: 'Il Delirio Amoroso', 'Aci, Galatea e Polifemo,' 'Mi palpita il cor', and the aria 'Qui l'augel da pianta in pianta'. The recital opens with the 'Introduzione from Il Delirio Amoroso' in which Emmanuelle Haïm sets a buoyant and elegant mood for the rest of the recording. Natalie Dessay is in top form here, giving us a broader range of voice than we are used to hearing from this talented artist. She has a definite affinity for Handel and her approach to these rare works is gratifying in every way. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, March 06
Some time ago, it was reported that Natalie Dessay was facing a vocal crisis, and I became quite worried at how her voice would sound after that. Now I know I had no real reasons to be worried, since the superb Natalie Dessay proved again what a great and intelligent artist she is. While Natalie Dessay has had to abandone a little her former lirico-leggero coloratura singing with an abundance of stratospheric high notes and superhuman agility, she has now gained an equally stupendous voice. It's now creamier and fuller than before, with a much improved low register and a richer middle register. She doesn't attempt the highest notes anymore (notice that highest notes for Dessay mean High G's and High A's, since she's still able to hit a wonderful High E Flat or High E), but her artistry seems to have deepend and matured. One of my greatest praises to her singing has always been Dessay's ability to convey the proper nuance and dramaticism to any melody she sings, even if it's a simple recitative. Now she seems to have reached the complete maturity of her artistry, and this album is a proof of that. This is an album of Händel's Italian Cantatas, which are full of nuanced and fascinating music. They may not have the dramaticism of his later operas nor the depth of other sacred pieces by him, like Messiah, but they have that wonderful melodical creativity that Händel had. In "Un pensiero voli in ciel", Dessay shows her flowing legato in long coloratura lines with the accompaniment of lively, meaningful strings. The aria "Lascia omai le brune vele" contains some fascinating, unselfconsciously exuberant fioriture, which are sung by Dessay with stunning ease.Read more ›
French soprano Natalie Dessay has had to endure two major surgeries to remove nodes that were preventing her from fully reaching her stratospheric, two-and-a-half octave range. This supple dexterity is showcased nicely albeit briefly in her soubrettish turn as Morgana on the 2000 recording of the 1999 William Christie-conducted Paris Opera production of Handel's "Alcina". She also intertwined flawlessly with soprano Veronique Gens on "Ahi, nelle sorte umane" from the 2002 recording of Handel's Arcadian duets. Here, again under Emmanuelle Haim's direction of the period-authentic Le Concert d'Astree, Dessay performs in a deeper tone with more heft and color at the lower end, and the vocal change, if anything, has improved her interpretative skills in realizing the pastoral mythologies set to Handel's wondrous music composed during his youthful Italian sojourn when he was in his twenties.
Equipped with a cleaner, crisper voice than Cecilia Bartoli, Dessay produces a similar emotional intensity on the two cantatas featured here. Both written in 1707, they become vehicles for her to carry her own unique power and eloquence. Haim sets the stage beautifully by allowing her ensemble to play Handel's opening sinfonia with spirited solo turns on each of the featured instruments - oboe, cello, recorder and violin (played with virtuosity by Stefanie-Marie Degand). Five minutes later, Dessay enters and takes command of the first cantata, "Delirio amoroso" with the high point likely being the stunning aria, "Lascia omai le brune vele" with oboist Patrick Beaugiraud providing lively accompaniment during the key obbligato.Read more ›
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I love Handel, and bought this cd because I had never heard "Delirio amoroso" or for that matter, I had never even heard of it. The cd turned out to be a wonderful surprise. The music is light and airy. Delirio is a substantial and brilliantly orchestrated cantata for solo Soprano. Handel aficionados may recognize some of the music as Handel reworked one of the arias for both "Rodrigo", and "Radamisto".
The cd also includes an aria from "Aci, Galateae Polifemo". If you are unfamiliar with this, then you may find yourself wanting to search out the entire cantata.
Finally, there is "Mi palpita il cor", a cantata that has been reworked several times. The cd notes say that this appears to be the earliest version of this cantata. While a purist may need to know that, to me it hardly mattered. The music intertwines the solo soprano voice with the oboe making the "palpita" a new Handel favorite. I love that combination! It is haunting in a way that baroque music seldom is. In my spare time I may search out the versions... one for alto voice and flute, HWV 132c, or HWV 132d, which apparently uses both flute and oboe.
Natalie Dessay is perfectly suited to the musical and interpretive demands. I love her voice! She moves through her voice registers seamlessly. She adds color to her voice as she interprets the music flawlessly. I don't know what else one could expect of a singer.
This is well worth the purchase price. I highly recommend it.
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