Mstation Classical Reviews

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Mon, 30 May 2005

Handel, The Triumph ...

G.F. Handel, 
The Time of Triumph and Truth
Gillian Fisher, Emma Kirkby
Charles Brett, Ian Partridge
Stephen Varcoe
The London Handel Choir and Orchestra
Denys Darlow

This oratorio was first performed at the Covent Garden Theatre in London in 1757, and was performed again twice during Handel's last active season of 1758. In 1759 he died.

As was not unknown with Handel, the piece had mostly been written some years earlier. In order for us to see that Handel was in no way "cheating" by doing this we have to look at the practise of the times but, more importantly, we need to remember that Handel was an impressario, a producer, as well as being a fine composer. His job, as he would have seen it, was to produce a show ... a show that people would pay money to attend.

The birth of this Oratorio seems to have been in 1707, when he was twenty-two. He was in Rome and had attracted the patronage of the Cardinals Pamfilli and Ottoboni. He composed an Oratorio for which Cardinal Pamfilli wrote the text. In 1737 Handel did further work on it and then later a new libretto was substituted and more changes made.

The London Handel Choir and Orchestra are in fine form on this recording. You might expect anything with Emma Kirkby in it would be much better than acceptable, and so it is. (Count K)

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