SOMETIMES DEVOTIONAL, ALWAYS EMOTIONAL, BUT MOSTLY SENSATIONAL!!
"Handel is the GREATEST composer who ever lived. I would bare my head and kneel at his grave." Thus said the great Beethoven.
The repertoire on this album is from both Handel's famous operas and oratorios, some of which were written for castrati. Ian Bostridge says that his aim is to put the spotlight back on the Handel tenor with the making of this album, while he also attempts to represent with the program, Handel's ability to recreate himself while remaining essentially the same. Handel has long been identified with great Choral Music, in part, and mostly with 'The Messiah'. Without diminishing the power of his traditional work, informed opinion lately has come to the true heart of his greatness: Opera.
Ian Bostridge, accompanied by the sublime Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, takes on a selection of arias and airs (and two duets) from Handel's operas and oratorios. He embraces these excerpts with equal parts grace, as in the lovely 'Ombra Mai Fu' and gives due strength to 'Scherzo infido' from 'Arodante'; and reminds us that great roles in late Baroque opera weren't confined to countertenors.
I have always been attracted to the sound of Bostridge's voice, and his singing is manufactured from a very intelligent mind, and a musical sensitivity that is rare in many singers. But in the past 10 years his voice has deepened and grown and I think he has attained the perfection for which he was striving. I have really never heard the much sung 'Where'er you walk' performed with such incredible emotion and feeling. Even the very fine tenor John Aler,who sang the song in the outstanding award-winning opera 'Semele', really does not match Bostridge's renditon on this disc. The entire album is superior, as is the Mark Padmore album that was just released. There are a few songs that are the same, but that in no way interferes with your enjoyment of both of them. Two fine tenors, each doing their own wonderful interpretation. I could not live without either of the them; my ears would curl up and die!!!!!