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Tra le fiamme HWV 170

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

Maria Keohane (photo credit: Anna Thorbjörnsson)

Maria Keohane (photo credit: Anna Thorbjörnsson)

Composer
Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)
Composition Year
1707
Work Movements
1. Aria – Tra le fiamme tu scherzi
2. Recitativo – Dedalo gia le fortunate penne
3. Aria – Pien di nuovo e bel diletto
4. Recitativo – Si, si, pu troppo è vero
5. Aria – Voli per l
6. Recitativo – L
7. Da capo – Tra le fiamme tu scherzi
Artists
Maria Keohane [soprano], Barokksolistene (Bjarte Eike [director/violin], Stefan Lindvall [violin], Torbjorn Köhl [viola], Mattias Froftenson [double Bass], Fredrik Bock , Hans Knut Sveen [harpsichord])

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

Playing in the flames you amuse yourself,
My heart, to find happiness,
And charm and beauty deceive you

Handel set off for Italy to seek fame and fortune and further education when he was barely twenty one. The original invitation to visit Italy came the son and heir of the Grand Duke of Tuscany pressing him to visit Florence. Italian music was famous throughout Northern Europe and Handel is unlikely to have needed much persuading, the principal attraction being Italian opera. Although he began his trip at Florence, his most important patrons were in and around Rome, Francesco Ruspoli and three Cardinals – Pietro Ottoboni, Carlo Colonna and Benedetto Pamphili. The latter is thought to have been the author of Tra le fiamme.

Rome was an unlikely place for a German composer seeking experience of Italian opera for the Pope had banned all performances of opera. However Italian composers evaded the ban by composing oratorios and cantatas in a purely operatic style and Handel followed suit. While in Italy Handel met all the leading composers of the age, both Scarlattis, Caldera, Corelli, Gasparini, Vivaldi and Albinoni. One commentator described Handel as arriving in Italy as a gifted but crude composer with an uncertain command of form and left it a polished and fully equipped artist. He is said to have composed 150 chamber cantatas in Italy along with two operas, two oratorios and many chamber works, altogether a formidable body of work for such a young man. Above all he won absolute mastery of the technique of writing for the voice as you can hear in Tra le fiamme.

This is the work of a young composer who suffuses some slight amateur verses with the warmth of Italian lyricism - a composer who is in command of a free melodic style, that is both long-breathed and rhythmically flexible. The verses declaim the danger of playing with the fire of love and drawing upon the myth of Dedalus and Icarus to prove his point. The music is flowing and sensuous persuading us more of love’s pleasures than its dangers.

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Tra le fiamme HWV 170

Composer: Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)
Performance date: Thursday 30th June 2011
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)
Work Title Tra le fiamme HWV 170
Composition Year 1707
Work Movements 1. Aria – Tra le fiamme tu scherzi
2. Recitativo – Dedalo gia le fortunate penne
3. Aria – Pien di nuovo e bel diletto
4. Recitativo – Si, si, pu troppo è vero
5. Aria – Voli per l
6. Recitativo – L
7. Da capo – Tra le fiamme tu scherzi
Lyrics / Translation Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili
Language Italian
Artist(s) Maria Keohane [soprano], Barokksolistene (Bjarte Eike [director/violin], Stefan Lindvall [violin], Torbjorn Köhl [viola], Mattias Froftenson [double Bass], Fredrik Bock , Hans Knut Sveen [harpsichord])
Performance Date Thursday 30th June 2011
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:17:41
Recording Engineer Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Large Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation S-solo, 2vn, va, db, lu, hpd
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys
Playing in the flames you amuse yourself,
My heart, to find happiness,
And charm and beauty deceive you

Handel set off for Italy to seek fame and fortune and further education when he was barely twenty one. The original invitation to visit Italy came the son and heir of the Grand Duke of Tuscany pressing him to visit Florence. Italian music was famous throughout Northern Europe and Handel is unlikely to have needed much persuading, the principal attraction being Italian opera. Although he began his trip at Florence, his most important patrons were in and around Rome, Francesco Ruspoli and three Cardinals – Pietro Ottoboni, Carlo Colonna and Benedetto Pamphili. The latter is thought to have been the author of Tra le fiamme.

Rome was an unlikely place for a German composer seeking experience of Italian opera for the Pope had banned all performances of opera. However Italian composers evaded the ban by composing oratorios and cantatas in a purely operatic style and Handel followed suit. While in Italy Handel met all the leading composers of the age, both Scarlattis, Caldera, Corelli, Gasparini, Vivaldi and Albinoni. One commentator described Handel as arriving in Italy as a gifted but crude composer with an uncertain command of form and left it a polished and fully equipped artist. He is said to have composed 150 chamber cantatas in Italy along with two operas, two oratorios and many chamber works, altogether a formidable body of work for such a young man. Above all he won absolute mastery of the technique of writing for the voice as you can hear in Tra le fiamme.

This is the work of a young composer who suffuses some slight amateur verses with the warmth of Italian lyricism - a composer who is in command of a free melodic style, that is both long-breathed and rhythmically flexible. The verses declaim the danger of playing with the fire of love and drawing upon the myth of Dedalus and Icarus to prove his point. The music is flowing and sensuous persuading us more of love’s pleasures than its dangers.