At the very end of 1706, not yet 22 years of age, George Frideric Handel arrived in Rome. “Having shown off his skills to the amazement of everyone” on the organ of St John Lateran on 14 January 1707, the young talent from beyond the Alps immediately established himself in the lively cultural fabric of the city, causing a disruptive reaction, an alchemy that was to transform the traveller as much as his hosts. The compositions recorded here testify to this meeting: a dialogue between two musical cultures that shared an illustrious history and an extremely dynamic modernity; a dialogue captured in the first annus mirabilis of the crucial Italian tour that gave rise to the earliest masterpieces by the Saxon, as German musicians were often called in Italy. By the first weeks of the year, Handel was already caught up in a dense network of aristocratic patronage, both secular (the Marquis Ruspoli) and ecclesiastical (the Cardinals Ottoboni, Colonna and Pamphili), and that saw him play the dual roles of composer and performer at the keyboard in a plethora of occasions, from religious functions (even if Handel was Lutheran) to accademie or conversazioni, namely concerts held at the luxurious homes of patrons, and open to diplomats, aristocrats, travellers and musicians; occasions on which he worked alongside such established colleagues as Arcangelo Corelli, Bernardo Pasquini and Alessandro Scarlatti.
Giulio Prandi is the founder and conductor of the Ghislieri Choir & Consort. He is also artistic and musical director of Ghislierimusica, set in the historic Ghislieri College of Pavia. Prandi and the Ghislieri Choir and Consort are regularly invited to perform at prestigious music festivals and in major concert halls all over Europe. After the debut album for Amadeus magazine, Prandi started recording for Sony - Deutsche Harmonia Mundi in 2010. In 2015/2016, he formed part of the jury of the Göttingen Handel Competition and of the International Van Wassenaer Competition 2016 in Utrecht. Giulio Prandi’s engagements with Ghislieri Choir & Consort will take him to Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Malta.