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Parnasso In Festa Import

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 14 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B001F4YGZA
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Product Description

This month features the long overdue return to the studio of The King's Consort, under the baton of the group's newly appointed Artistic Director Matthew Halls. Here the ensemble presents the premiere recording of Handel's Parnasso in Festa: a unique example in Handel's enormous creative career of a fully-fledged celebratory serenata. This form was rare in England, but had developed in parallel with opera in Italy, where it was popular for commemorating special occasions of international significance such as royal weddings. Parnasso in Festa was written for Princess Anne's marriage to Prince William of Orange. Created two years before Alexander's Feast and five years before the Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, the emotional centre of Parnasso in Festa is devoted to a study of the power of music. This masterpiece is presented here in a dazzling performance by an exceptional group of musicians, and graced by a stellar line-up of soloists led by Carolyn Sampson.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa76e09fc) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7388528) out of 5 stars Sparkling Handel Premiere Oct. 16 2008
By Paul Van de Water - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This fine recording of "Parnasso in Festa" ("The Festival on Parnassus") beautifully fills one of the few remaining gaps in the Handel discography. It was recently awarded the 2009 Stanley Sadie Handel Prize for a recording that "combine[s] fine interpretive quality with a penetrating or valuable insight into Handel's genius." The work is in the form of an Italian serenata--an extended cantata--like "Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo" or "Il Trionfo del Tempo." It tells the story of the wedding feast of the king Peleus and the nymph Thetis, with Apollo, Orpheus, and the Muses in attendance. The participants sing the praises of music and of marriage. Some of the music is borrowed from the oratorio "Athalia," which had not been performed in London at the time of this work's premiere, but much of it is new, "all of it fresh and fragrant" (Paul Henry Lang). Matthew Halls, formerly the associate director of the King's Consort, takes the helm for the first time and directs a sparkling performance. Carolyn Sampson, one of our leading baroque sopranos, heads a fine group of soloists. Highly recommended.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7af015c) out of 5 stars A Delight from Beginning to End April 14 2009
By Johannes Climacus - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Handel's vast output is full of surprises. Just when you thought there were no new treasures to discover, along comes this first-ever recording of a virtually unknown Serenata from 1733. This work was written to celebrate the marriage of Princess Anne to William of Orange. Despite the silliness of the pastoral/allergorical text celebrating the joys of marriage and music, Handel's score is fairly bursting at the seams with extravagant invention and lavish orchestration (including some fabulous writing for hunting horns in Handel's most bracing al fresco style). Never mind that this work consists almost entirely of music recycled from *Athalia* and other sources. Handel knew exactly what he was doing in selecting (and often revising) suitable pre-existing music for this celebratory pastiche. The match of musical idiom and affect with text is in every case perfect, resulting in a work which seems freshly composed and in which everything contributes to a satisfying whole.

The performance featuring The King's Consort under the direction of Matthew Halls is splendid on every count. The cast, consisting mostly of women's voices, is sufficiently varied in timbre and character to prevent any sense of monotony setting in over a long succession of arias in a similar vocal range. Peter Harvey, the one male soloist, does a superb job in his limited role. Otherwise, the distinguished roster of women (with Sampson, Moore, and Clegg particularly outstanding) regale the listener with stunning feats of virtuosity in the celebratory music, alternating with poignantly expressive singing in the more reflective arias. The Choir of the King's Consort provide, crisp, clear-textured and often rousing contributions in the many splendid choruses which range in mood from compassionate lament (in response to Orpheus's recollected loss of Eurydice) to festive jubilation (as only Handel can evoke). They are particularly effective in the massive, and cunningly delayed climax of the final chorus, at which point the unexpected entrance of brass and timpani creates a spine-tingling surge of adrenaline.

Indeed, the ensemble playing is magnificent (with absolutely glorious winds and brass), and the continuo realizations are nicely varied, though never obtrusive. Add to this a virtually flawless recording in an ample, but never detail-clouding, acoustic space, and we have an unequivocal winner on our hands.

With informative notes and full texts and translations reflecting their usual strong production values, Hyperion has clearly given us one of the most stimulating Handel recordings in recent years. Not to be missed on any account.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7af0990) out of 5 stars QUE LA FETE COMMENCE ! April 25 2011
By PVP - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The King's Consort, formation anglaise mythique, revient aux studios sous la direction artistique Matthew Halls (ancien adjoint de Robert King) pour le premier enregistrement du Parnasso in Festa (Mars 1734) sérénade (un peu dans le style oratorio' nombreux chaeurs), genre très populaire en Italie, écrite par G.F.H. pour le mariage de la Princesse Anne et William d'Orange (la « fleur des princesses » est l'élève préférée de Georg Friedrich et elle le lui rend bien pour défendre sa musique avec ferveur, à une époque où il n'a plus trop la cote auprès des Londoniens.

Chef-d'oeuvre longtemps privé de l'attention qu'il avait historiquement rencontrée, créé deux ans avant Alexander's Feast, et cinq avant a Song for St Cecilia's Day, cette véritable comédie musicale semble se concentrer sur une étude puissante de la seule musique et de ses effets harmoniques. Ouvrage victime d'un très long oubli, comme Déborah, en raison de ce que l'essentiel de la musique est un recyclage du matériau d'Athalia, dont on réentend les larges et émouvants chaeurs augmentés de nouveaux numéros (9 sur 35) parmi lesquels un finale où alternent les interventions soli de Carestini, créateur du rôle d'Apollo, et les interjections chorales délicieuses d'un ensemble bien mesuré.
"Étonnant Haendel' quand il fait de la daube réchauffée, il fait de la daube réchauffée, mais quand il est génial, il l'est pour de bon ! » écrit une critique, réaliste ; toutefois ne boudons pas le plaisir : l'orchestration est sérieusement transformée et étoffée.

Difficile de se passionner pour cette intrigue rudimentaire et de circonstance qui réunit une assemblée générale de divinités et de démiurges classiques venus célébrer les noces de Pelée et de Thétis.

Cela dit, interprétation très colorée d'un groupe exceptionnel de musiciens remontés semble-il à bloc ; orchestre et chaeur en parfaite symbiose avec un sens du rythme et du tempo qui aère l'espace et nourrit la réflexion ; le casting est discutable ; Diane Moore (Apollo) « Torni pure » n'est pas franchement très excitante à l'inverse de Carolyn Sampson dans le rôle de Clio, comme toujours, très à l'aise dans ce répertoire, totalement illuminée dans « Nel spiegar sua voce al canto ».
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c5e5ac) out of 5 stars Pleasant, but.... Sept. 9 2010
By Rollo Tomassi - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Despite the general praiseworthiness of having a high-quality premiere (and so far, only) recording of this work, I find myself not quite as enraptured as my fellow Handelians here. Nothing wrong with the performance--it's excellent, as noted. My problems lie with the nature of the piece. As a highly celebratory serenata, it has a "lighter" feel than Handel's other operas. This is entirely appropriate, given the work's joyous occasion: the wedding of Princess Anne (George II's daughter, a former music pupil of Handel's, and his biggest royal fan). But it means that there's intentionally practically no tragic, or even heavily dramatic, element here. (While the Greek mythology storyline isn't any sillier than some of Handel's other works, it avoids real human drama and sticks with simpole commentary on love and marriage.) One could even debate "Parnasso's" status as an "opera"; it may have been originally performed in concert, with little scenery or costuming. And, while Handel's choruses here are delightful, I find the arias uninspired, by his standards. In conclusion: probably desirable for Handel completists, but newcomers to Handel opera should try something weightier, "Serse", or "Amadigi", perhaps.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6baee7c) out of 5 stars Five Stars Oct. 26 2015
By Orlando Medeiros - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase