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Haendel: Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 8, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno was the first of Handel's many oratorios. It was also the last, for half a century later he rewrote it with an English translation as The Triumph of Time and Truth. In between, he penned another rewrite with a chorus, and borrowed extensively from Il Trionfo for works that have become better known to listeners. In this absolutely sensational performance, the 22-year-old composer's initial offering sounds smashing. The text contains one of the debates about beauty, time, pleasure, and truth so ubiquitous among Baroque vocal texts, and the music peerlessly demonstrates the vivid imagination and skills of the young Handel. Rinaldo Alessandrini and his excellent ensemble bring us a swift-paced performance that never flags. The conductor also plays the organ continuo in a sonata that's said to be the first organ concerto ever written. Unlike all too many recordings of Baroque oratorios, the singing is outstanding. The solo quartet is led by Deborah York, whose bright soprano shines in coloratura passages. Gemma Bertagnolli's warmer soprano offers nice contrast and alto Sara Mingardo is marvelous, while tenor Nicholas Sears offers outstanding lyric singing. This is simply one of the best Handel oratorio recordings extant; it's not to be missed. --Dan Davis

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prima Parte
  2. Prima Parte
  3. Prima Parte
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Disc: 2

  1. Seconda Parte
  2. Seconda Parte
  3. Seconda Parte
  4. Seconda Parte
  5. Seconda Parte
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Product Details

  • Performer: Deborah York, Sara Mingardo, Gemma Bertagnolli, Nicholas Sears
  • Orchestra: Concerto Italiano
  • Conductor: Rinaldo Alessandrini
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (May 8, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B00004ZBLE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,358 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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By J. Luis Juarez Echenique on May 25, 2001
Rinaldo Alessandrini was wise to choose this early (but fully mature) oratorio for his first Handel recording. The only other worthwhile recording with Minkowski in ERATO is now superseded in every department. Alessandrini has a superior orchestra in his fabulous Concerto Italiano who play Handel as if to the manner born. His soloists couldn't possibly be bettered: soprano Deborah York covers herself with glory in her great arias, and Gemma Bertagnolli is not too far behind. Sara Mingardo is the finest Italian mezzo since Bartoli switched to soprano and the sweet voiced tenor is a delight too. All in all, it would be VERY difficult for a better recording of Il Trionfo to come by. If you don't know this beautiful oratorio you are missing an important masterpiece.
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Somewhere I ran across a reference to this work and I bought it for one reason---Sara Mingardo. (See my review to Vivaldi's Farnace.) Additionally there is also Gemma Bertagnolli, Deborah York, Nicholas Sears and Concerto Italiano directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini. In other words a fabulous all-star cast. This is not great Handel Triumphalism that one gets in his grand oratorios and operas like Semele, Radimisto and the like. It is beautiful music, beautifully presented. Take my advice. Buy anything in which Sara Mingardo or Gemma Bertagnolli sings or hopefully both of them such as Vivaldi's La Verità in Cimento. Buy anything directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini such as Vivaldi's L'Olimpiade and his Vespri per L'Assunzione di Maria Vergine. And let us thank Opus 111 for making this work available to us.
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This is on the whole a splendid recording of the first oratorio of G F Handel, written in the early Italian years of the then young composer.
The music itself is very good - so good that the aria of Pleasure, 'Lascia la spina', was later recycled in the opera 'Rinaldo' as 'Lascia chi'o pianga'.
Rinaldo Alessandrini, in this first Handel recording of his, hired two British Handel 'specialists' to perform the roles of Beauty and Time respectively. British soprano Deborah York took the yoke of this performance as Beauty, singing almost half of the solo arias. Close up running to her is the character of Pleasure, sung here by Italian soprano Gemma Bertagnoli.
Alessandrini gave a well-thought out interpretation of this work, and the instrumental parts are truly sublime (listen to the terrific three-movement overture).
The instrumentation of Handel in this work truly demonstrates the genius that he was as they are being wonderfully woven with the vocal parts throughout the different recitatives and arias.
The story is deathly simple. The characters invovled are four representations of Beauty (soprano), Pleasure (boy soprano), Illusion (contralto) and Time (tenor). Beauty is lured by the boy Pleasure, with Illusion and Time offering timeous counselling.
The four soloists are very capable singers, particularly York and Mingardo, truly top-grained baroque specialists. The tenor Nicholas Sears is also highly competent.
The only quibble that I have with this recording is the not too successful combination of the voices of Beauty and Pleasure. While Beauty is supposedly a young girl and Pleasure a young man (boy), the choice of soprano voices for these characters in this casting left clear room for better choices.
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In common parlance, giving 5 stars to this amazing achievement of Concerto Italiano is a "no brainer." Go ahead, try to find for me a Handel vocal work performed more engagingly and so beautiful to listen to. One lovely aria performed flawlessly after another.

If I could only have one vocal Handel recording this would be it. It's no wonder that so many of these arias are slightly re-worked and find their place in Handel's future operas.

Here, you get them all and performed expertly by the singers and orchestra. The two working well together at all times.

Bravo, Mr. Alessandrini, encore!
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There is not a single duff piece in this early oratorio, and I cannot conceive of a better performance than it gets here (despite seeing a pretty impressive live version of it by Le Concert d'Astree last night in London). This is possibly the most glorious available recording of anything in the baroque repertoire. You can hear all the excitement that Handel must have felt on his exposure to the italian musical scene.

Buy it.

You will *not* regret it.
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