Ludus Baroque and five stellar soloists bring to life Handel’s rarely heard final oratorio, a remarkable Protestant re-casting of a work written fifty years earlier to a text by the young composer’s Roman patron Cardinal Pamphilj.
Compelled by Time and Truth to accept the divine order of change and decay, Beauty ultimately gives way – as with the aging composer himself – to an assertion of redemption by good works, reflected in the incorporation of choruses Handel had written for the Foundling Hospital.
The resulting work, neglected by centuries of scholarship on account of its hybrid origins, here proves an extraordinary feast of riches, and the ideal vehicle for Richard Neville-Towle’s carefully assembled cast of exceptional soloists, vigorous, intelligent chorus and an orchestra made up from some of the UK’s leading period instrumentalists.
"The small orchestra playing is stylish and characterful...Excellent, spirited singing from both choir and soloists throughout – Ludus Baroque's most valuable Handel recording so far confirms that this unclassifiable, peculiar work is well worth revisiting. EDITOR'S CHOICE
"Both Bevans sing with lustrous tone, natural agility and exquisite decorations, Lyon and William Berger (Time) with taut elegance and Tim Mead (Counsel) with immaculate poise. Though Neville-Towle's tempos sometimes waver, this is a performance of great warmth."
"finely shaped, unflamboyant conducting from Neville-Towle, gracious playing and some very fine singing. Sophie Bevan plays Beauty in what is arguably her finest recording to date. Her sister Mary as Deceit sounds at once seductive and cunning, while Ed Lyon is all elegant bravado and swagger as Pleasure."
Recording venue(s): Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh
Recording dates: 4-7 August 2013
Physical format: Jewel case (slimline double)
Number of discs: 2
Number of tracks: 57
Total playing time: 2:34:43
Album ID: DCD34135