Handel: op. 2/5 & 7, arrangements of operatic pieces
Haym: op. 1/1, 3 & 4
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s far as I am aware, this is the first recording of music by Nicola Francesco Haym (1678-1729), better known today as the librettist for several of Handel’s greatest operas, including Giulio Cesare, Rodelinda and Tamerlano. He emerges as a charming, though small-scale, composer in his own right in these three trio sonatas; Heriberto Delgado Gutierrez and Sara Bagnati beautifully realise his plangent suspensions and deft counterpoint, splendidly supported by Silvia Serrano Monesterolo on cello, Jorge Lopez Escribano on keyboard, and particularly Maximilian Ehrhardt on harp.
The rest of the disc is devoted to Handel – unusual string arrangements of three operatic arias for voice and obbligato, which neatly demonstrate his differing techniques for vocal and instrumental composition, and two splendidly substantial trio sonatas from Op 2; No 7 in F has some extraordinary harmonic twists and a most dramatic conclusion to its fugal second movement and echoes of the overture to Athalia in its last. No 5 in G minor has a hectic, driving allegro and a contrastingly tranquil adagio. The disc concludes with the Ballo di Pastori e Pastorelli from Amadigi, which gives Ehrhardt’s harp a chance to shine.
A most enjoyable issue; one would however have liked a little more information about the music itself in the notes.