GF Handel, Ezio M station -----> Classical Music Reviews

GF Handel, Ezio 2 CDs, Vox2 7503, Distributed in the UK by Priory. Manhattan Chamber Orchestra conducted by Richard Auldon Clark D'Anna Fortunato, Julianne Baird, Nathaniel Watson, Frederick Urrey, Raymond Pellerin I can take a lot of Handel. That might be the result of not taking it all too seriously in an intellectual sense ... which sounds like a putdown but I'm sure even diehard Handel fans will admit that sometimes his commercial needs overwhelmed his creative urges. Ezio (1732) was the last of his Italian libretto excercises. After this, in responce to the changing scene in London, he gave birth to the English oratorio. At the time, audiences were talking through the recitatives waiting for the da capos. All of that doesn't affect in the least how we might appreciate this work today. There are moments of pomp and moments of graceful understated beauty (such as the start of the Andante of the organ concerto on track 20). The performance is very good and the singing quite lovely. This is the first recording of Ezio and hopefully the producer's bravery is being rewarded. A booklet with the CD gives some interesting background by John Ostendorf and the libretto in Italian and English. Handel fans should have it. (Count K)

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