Der Händel-Boom der letzten Jahre hat zwar unzählige Aufnahmen hervorgebracht, gleichwohl gibt es noch immer Werke, die auf CD nicht dokumentiert sind. Eines davon ist die Serenata »Il Parnasso in Festa«, die 1734 im King’s Theatre am Londoner Haymarket zur Aufführung kam. Das Werk blieb seitdem vergessen, obwohl viele Händelforscher meinten, »es würde sich sehr lohnen, das Werk aufzuführen. Rechtzeitig zum nahenden Händel-Jahr 2009 präsentiert nun der King’s Consort unter seinem neuen Leiter Matthew Halls als Weltersteinspielung Händels spritziges Gelegenheitswerk.
Hyperion’s Record of the Month sees 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 (or Festa teatrale). 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. Parnasso in Festa was written for Princess Anne’s marriage to Prince William of Orange.
In Handel’s serenata three of the Muses, their leader Apollo, his son Orpheus, and Mars (god of War) gather at the feast celebrating the nuptials of Peleus and Thetis. The mythological musicians Apollo and Orfeo must have been particularly appealing for Handel here. Unlike many composers, he never composed an opera about Orpheus and Euridice. His only depiction of the mythical musician in his entire output forms the core of the serenata’s middle part. For a composer who later excelled at representing the musical ikons Timotheus and St Cecilia, and who was described by contemporaries as ‘the Orpheus of our age’, the depiction of Orfeo is fascinating. Created two years before Alexander’s Feast, and five years before A Song for St Cecilia’s Day, the emotional centre of Parnasso in Festa is devoted to a study of the power of music.
This magnificent masterpiece has long been starved of wide attention. It 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.
'It's quite a week for Handel fans … This courtly entertainment, ravishingly sung and played here by The King's Consort, with soprano Carolyn Sampson in particularly fine form' (The Observer)
'A recording of such exemplary artistry and insight that it is difficult to imagine the music ever sounding better - you'll wish it would go on for ever!' (Classic FM Magazine)
'This allegorical “festa teatrale” emerges fresh-minted … in this delightful recording. The young soloists, especially Diana Moore as Apollo and Euterpe, Lucy Crowe as Orfeo, and Ruth Clegg as Clori, are a treat. A must for Handelians' (The Sunday Times)
'Thank goodness for Hyperion, still sensibly producing recordings that really ought to exist … This CD set is a welcome addition to the Handel corpus … brimming with lovely music' (Early Music Review)
Daily Telegraph: "Diese neue Aufnahme erfüllt die
einfallsreiche, farbenfrohe Partitur mit Pracht.
Matthew Halls leitet ein Experten-Orchester und einen
jugendlich-frischen Chor mit dem sicheren Gespür für
Tempo und Raum für Reflektion. Carolyn Sampson singt
mit Klarheit und Anmut."