Agrippina was staged for the first time in late December 1709 - or possibly at the beginning of 1710 - at Venice’s Teatro San Grisostomo and met with enormous success, as testified by twenty-seven following performances, a record number even for 18th-century standards. Agrippina’s triumph sanctioned Handel’s definitive investiture as an operatic composer. After nearly 300 years this opera appears as a masterpiece of 18th-century music and an innovative work, considering that when Handel composed it he was just twenty-four years old. The composer’s melodic creativity and sense of theatre are quite remarkable. The cast, conducted by Jean-Claude Malgoire, includes Véronique Gens in the title role.
I know of no Rameau work more colourful, more melodious, more replete with inventive vitality, wrote Gramophone in reviewing this 1973 premiere recording of the French Baroque masters 1735 heroic ballet Les Indes galantes. There is immense enthusiasm and spirit in this performance [and] some excellent singing Among the array of sopranos I was specially impressed by the full, bright ring of Rachel Yakar Anne-Marie Rodde: a good stylist and a clean, accurate voice, coping well with Rameaus florid detail The tenor Bruce Brewer is a real find for the lyrical French roles: his voice is very smooth and graceful In all, a set which no Rameau admirer should miss. Conducted by Rameau specialist Jean-Claude Malgoire, it is now being issued for the first time on CD.
IIn his setting of Orlando, Handel offers us a score of remarkable dramatic power, diversity and originality. Orlando s mad scene and slumber aria are among the composer s most striking creations. Everything in the opera arouses admiration the extremely varied scoring, the exuberant vocal writing, the rhythmic invention and the supple melodies. On this new recording from K617, Jean-Claude Malgoire and La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy are joined by a cast of talented soloists in a fantastic production rivaling the best in the catalog.
Rinaldo (HWV 7) is an opera by George Frideric Handel, composed in 1711, and was the first Italian language opera written specifically for the London stage. The libretto was prepared by Giacomo Rossi from a scenario provided by Aaron Hill, and the work was first performed at the Queen's Theatre in London's Haymarket on 24 February 1711. The story of love, war and redemption, set at the time of the First Crusade, is loosely based on Torquato Tasso's epic poem Gerusalemme liberata ("Jerusalem Delivered"), and its staging involved many original and vivid effects. It was a great success with the public, despite negative reactions from literary critics hostile to the contemporary trend towards Italian entertainment in English theatres.
Neukomm spent twenty years in the service of Prince Talleyrand, who commissioned him to write a requiem mass in memory of Louis XVI, guillotined in Paris on 21 January 1793. is was the second mass of the y he was eventually to compose, several of which were dedi- cated to monarchs. e Requiem was given at St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna on 21 January 1815 by more than three hundred singers divided into two choirs. Neukomm conducted one of them, while the other was directed by his friend Salieri.
Catone in Utica (1737), written for the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, is one of Vivaldi’s last operatic masterpieces. Its splendid score, however, has come down to us incomplete: in fact the first of the three acts is missing. With infinite patience, Jean-Claude Malgoire has reconstructed the missing act, realising the recitative passages complying perfectly to Vivaldi’s stylistic idiom and integrating the missing arias with original arias taken from other operas written by the Red Priest. Thus Catone in Utica is at last available, in a world-première recording, in its complete form. This is unquestionably one of the highest moments in Vivaldi’s production of music theatre, a concise and highly efficacious score, rich in coups de théâtre and memorable arias, brought to us now in all its dazzling virtuoso beauty by a formidable singing cast. The recording was made in Turcoing, in France, during the performances given in November 2001 and has all the exciting freshness of a live recording in which the excellence of the performers is underlined by the audience’s enthusiastic applause.
In 1789, a performance of "Messiah" that was to have a radical effect on the course of the oratorio's performance history was given in Vienna. Baron Gottfried Van Swieten, who later translated and edited the text for Haydn's "Creation", had, as a diplomat in London during the late 1760s, become an ardent Handelian. Among other Handel scores, he took back to Austria a copy of the first edition of the full score of "Messiah", published by Randall and Abell in 1767. Beginning with "Judas Maccabaeus" in 1779, he introduced works by Handel into the annual oratorio series given for the benefit of the Tonkunstler Society, a Viennese musical charity. In 1789, he presented "Messiah" and, for this Viennese premiere, commissioned Mozart to fill out the accompaniments, largely dispensing with keyboard continuo and replacing the tromba parts practically unplayable for late 18th century trumpeters.
…Süssmayr, of course, was not the only, or even the first, person engaged by Constanza Mozart to work on her late husband’s unfinished masterpiece. Her first choice was Josef Eybler, another of Mozart’s students, and the one that Mozart had considered more capable. Eybler worked on the orchestration of the portions of the score for which Mozart had written vocal parts and a continuo bass line, but balked at providing original music for the missing sections of the Requiem. Süssmayr then took over, enjoying the advantage of having discussed Mozart’s intentions for the completion of the score with him. It’s entirely possible that the young assistant had a second advantage, namely that he was not sufficiently aware of the implications of the monumental task that Eybler had abandoned and that he was undertaking. There’s an unresolved dispute over his decision to bring the score to a close by repeating the music of the first fugue.
Antonio Salieri’s Falstaff is not Verdi’s and never will be. That out of the way, it’s a charming evening’s entertainment, occasionally quite funny, with nicely characterized roles, swell, brief melodies, excellent, spicy wind writing (vividly played here on period instruments and recorded in such a way that the sonics favor them), and nice forward propulsion. The action moves quickly and pointedly, the dry recitatives are frequent but never too long, and when they do go on, the cast here is clever and involved enough to make them dramatically viable.
The importance of Venice in the history of music needs no introduction. We know the reputation the doge's Chapel had acquired through the concerts and celebrations in the St Mark's basilica, and also the exceptions quality of the concerts that were given in the four charitable institutions of the city, known as 'ospedali', where young orphaned girls were given a musical education at state expense. Music lovers, whether from Venice or simply visitors, would eagerly make for the most reputed of these hospices, the Ospedale della Pietà, on Sunday mornings, after mass, and in lete afternoon, for vespers; religious and instrumental music were skilfully associated.