This almost unknown, large scale (almost 3 hour) oratorio, The Triumph of Time and Truth, was composed by Handel in Rome in 1707 and revised by him for performances in London’s Covent Garden in 1737 (the version recorded here) and then translated into English, revised again and presented, with new additions, in 1757. The performance recorded here contains, probably, everything Handel composed for this work in its various incarnations, and then some: A brief organ concerto by the composer is added to the second part’s introduction and another pops up before the final chorus; a number from the serenata Acis & Galatea is inserted at one point; and a Saraband for two harpsichords from Handel’s Almira is used as an interlude in Part III. Furthermore, some will recognize the beautiful aria from the original, “Lascia la spina,” which became “Lascia ch’io piango” in Rinaldo, set to another text and very different music.
Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno is a landmark in baroque music. It is Handel’s first oratorio, product of his astonishing flowering in Italy in his early twenties, suffused with the youthful vigour and virtuosity of his early works. The libretto, by the well-connected Benedetto Pamphili, is a highly crafted composition drawing on a rich mix of artistic forebears. It is both moral-religious allegory dramatized in music, and a pattern book of human psychology. This is the second disc for Hyperion from Academia Montis Regalis, who drew great acclaim for their recording of Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista.
Seventeen-track anthology focuses mostly on their popular 1963-66 recordings, including "Deep Purple," "Whispering," "Stardust," "All Strung Out," several lower-charting items, and some LP tracks. They milked the "Deep Purple" formula too many times, but this is enjoyably frothy pop, and "All Strung Out" is a genuinely soulful, accurate approximation of Phil Spector's work with the Righteous Brothers. The disc also includes Stevens's 1959 solo single "Teach Me Tiger," a bizarre cover of "I Love How You Love Me" (with battling bagpipes and fuzzy guitars), and one undistinguished track each from 1985 and 1996.
This is Handel's very first oratorio, to a libretto by Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili and with a title that translates as "The Triumph of Time and Disillusionment" (HWV 46a). The work, comprising two sections, was composed in spring 1707 and premiered that summer in Rome. Its most famous aria is "Lascia la spina", later recast as "Lascia ch'io pianga" in his 1711 opera Rinaldo.
Handel’s Italian oratorio seems to offer a great deal of fascination to continental-based ensembles presumably because the Italian texts make the works easier to perform well with non-Anglophone singers. But there are significant differences, between this work and the later oratorios. The later works use choruses and have quite strong narrative and moral elements. The English Oratorios were written for mainly English-trained singers whose style was expressive rather than virtuoso; in them the older Handel aimed for a new style.
Wigmore Hall Live kicks off New Year with an early music release. Handel s Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno was the composer s first opera to feature the celebrated aria Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa (Avoid the thorn, pluck the rose). Recorded for Wigmore Hall Live in January 2010 by the Early Opera Company, one of Britain s leading early music ensembles, the group features contralto Hilary Summers in the traditional countertenor role of enlightenment, her voice specifically chosen for its depth and fullness of tone. Director and harpsichordist, Christian Curnyn, was determined to recreate as faithful a sound as possible to what audiences at the time would have heard, not only instrumentally but notably in relation to tempi: Everything in Handel comes back to the heartbeat rate, fifty per minute. Recently people have tended to go either very fast or make things very dragged out, but in my view that spoils it. Baroque music is all based on dance, which means a natural rhythm. Of course you should push the boundaries, but it should feel as though you re pushing against a natural membrane. There s an inner pulse in Handel which you can t ignore.