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Ah! Curdel, mel piano mio, HWV 78

Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)

Concerto Copenhagen (photo credit: Keith Saunders)

Concerto Copenhagen (photo credit: Keith Saunders)

Composer
Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)
Composition Year
1708
Work Movements
1. Sonata - Allegro-Adagio-Allegro
2. Aria - Ah crudel, nel pianto mio
3. Recitativo - Non sdegnerai d
4. Aria - Di quell bel chi
5. Accompagnato-recitativo - Balena il cielko
6. Per trofei di mia Costanza
Artists
Concerto Copenhagen (Peter Spissky, Fredrik From, Antina Hugosson [violins], Torbjörn Köhl [viola], Kate Hearne [cello], Mattias Frostenson [bass], Fredrik Bock [archlute, Guitar], Lars-Ulrik Mortensen [harpsichord, Director])

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

 Handel’s Italian Cantatas have become something of a specialty in Bantry, primarily because they are both glorious music, are comparatively unknown and, as with Vivaldi’s violin concertos, there are a lot of them. They were composed for private performance in the palaces of cardinals and other wealthy nobility. These chamber cantatas were mostly composed for solo voice and a one-to-a-part ensemble with a small continuo group in order to fit onto a small stage.

Handel was just 22 when he traveled to Rome, a trip which lasted three years and saw the composer’s style develop dramatically. This Italian sojourn would turn out to be one of the most important and fruitful periods in Handel’s life. Shortly after his arrival in Rome at the end of 1706, Handel found himself at the centre of the Accademia degli Arcadi, a group of powerful cardinals, wealthy aristocrats, poets, thinkers and musicians who gathered in the palaces of various patrons on Sunday evenings. As public opera was forbidden in Rome by Papal decree, Handel started writing secular cantatas for these occasions, often collaborating with a patron and poet in the course of an evening and performing the work before the night was out.

Ah! Crudel consists of three arias separated by two recitatives and preceded by a glorious instrumental introduction. This is effectively a two-movement concerto for oboe and strings with the opening movement repeated. This is Handel in his most cheerful and uplifting mode. The arias tell a well-worn tale of love scorned and love regained, if the hopeful final aria is to be believed. With his limited instrumental resources he still manages to achieve a wide variety of moods in keeping with the scorned lover’s monologues. The opening aria, where the beloved is reproached for her cruelty and disdain is in a slow tempo (Adagio). Its vocal part shows a contrary development with many unusual and dissonant intervals expressing the lover’s sorrow. The subsequent recitative is with basso continuo alone leading to a more lyrical and fluent aria expressing the lover’s faithfulness. The stormy accompanied recitative that follows quickly turns to Arcadian sunshine ahead of the hopeful Finale that brings back the oboe to add to the mood of rejoicing.

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Ah! Curdel, mel piano mio, HWV 78

Composer: Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)
Performance date: Saturday 9th July 2016
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)
Work Title Ah! Curdel, mel piano mio, HWV 78
Composition Year 1708
Work Movements 1. Sonata - Allegro-Adagio-Allegro
2. Aria - Ah crudel, nel pianto mio
3. Recitativo - Non sdegnerai d
4. Aria - Di quell bel chi
5. Accompagnato-recitativo - Balena il cielko
6. Per trofei di mia Costanza
Language Italian
Artist(s) Concerto Copenhagen (Peter Spissky, Fredrik From, Antina Hugosson [violins], Torbjörn Köhl [viola], Kate Hearne [cello], Mattias Frostenson [bass], Fredrik Bock [archlute, Guitar], Lars-Ulrik Mortensen [harpsichord, Director])
Performance Date Saturday 9th July 2016
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:25:57
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Large Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation S-solo, 2vn, va, vc, ob, rec, lu, hpd
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

 Handel’s Italian Cantatas have become something of a specialty in Bantry, primarily because they are both glorious music, are comparatively unknown and, as with Vivaldi’s violin concertos, there are a lot of them. They were composed for private performance in the palaces of cardinals and other wealthy nobility. These chamber cantatas were mostly composed for solo voice and a one-to-a-part ensemble with a small continuo group in order to fit onto a small stage.

Handel was just 22 when he traveled to Rome, a trip which lasted three years and saw the composer’s style develop dramatically. This Italian sojourn would turn out to be one of the most important and fruitful periods in Handel’s life. Shortly after his arrival in Rome at the end of 1706, Handel found himself at the centre of the Accademia degli Arcadi, a group of powerful cardinals, wealthy aristocrats, poets, thinkers and musicians who gathered in the palaces of various patrons on Sunday evenings. As public opera was forbidden in Rome by Papal decree, Handel started writing secular cantatas for these occasions, often collaborating with a patron and poet in the course of an evening and performing the work before the night was out.

Ah! Crudel consists of three arias separated by two recitatives and preceded by a glorious instrumental introduction. This is effectively a two-movement concerto for oboe and strings with the opening movement repeated. This is Handel in his most cheerful and uplifting mode. The arias tell a well-worn tale of love scorned and love regained, if the hopeful final aria is to be believed. With his limited instrumental resources he still manages to achieve a wide variety of moods in keeping with the scorned lover’s monologues. The opening aria, where the beloved is reproached for her cruelty and disdain is in a slow tempo (Adagio). Its vocal part shows a contrary development with many unusual and dissonant intervals expressing the lover’s sorrow. The subsequent recitative is with basso continuo alone leading to a more lyrical and fluent aria expressing the lover’s faithfulness. The stormy accompanied recitative that follows quickly turns to Arcadian sunshine ahead of the hopeful Finale that brings back the oboe to add to the mood of rejoicing.