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Handel’s musical exploits in Italy earned him the sobriquet ‘Il caro Sassone’ and brought him his first major triumphs in a number of genres. Th is recital explores Handel’s youthful brilliance in various secular and sacred contexts, allowing soprano Lucy Crowe to display her thrilling versatility. The disc includes two complete cantatas(Armida abbandonata and Alpestre monte) and a Salve Regina, as well as individual arias from other cantatas and oratorios. Plus there are three instrumental movements executed with elegant panache by The English Concert. Crowe is the outstanding performer, however, her bright, mercurial tone as affecting and effective in the Angel’s blazing, stratospheric ‘Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno’ from La Resurrezione as in Pleasure’s cajoling ‘Lascia la spina’ from Il trionfo or the suicidal desolation of ‘Almen dopo’ from Alpestre monte. Curiously, there are no opera arias here, which I hope means a follow-up disc is in the offing.

Graham Lock Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2011 - ©Rhinegold Publishing