The chamber cantata flourished in Italy as a counterpart to public opera and oratorio, cultivated by aristocratic patrons for their personal enjoyment. Perhaps because of its essentially private origins, this pervasive Baroque form remains little known today. During his years in Italy (1706-1710), George Frideric Handel composed nearly 100 cantatas for a series of important patrons, but they have tended to be passed over in favour of his larger operas, oratorios, concertos and orchestral suites. The plan of La Risonanza to perform and record all of the cantatas with instrumental accompaniment (about one-third of the total) is therefore of signal importance for all music lovers, as it will bring this extraordinarily beautiful music once again to life (2006-2009).
This first disc presents four remarkable cantatas from early in Handel’s Italian period: Il delirio amoroso, Tra le fiamme, Figlio d’alte speranze and Pensieri notturni di Filli. Given the intensity, maturity and beauty of the cantatas, it is no surprise that Handel found them useful throughout his life, but now it is finally possible to bring these remarkable works out of Handel’s workroom and give them their own long-overdue hearing. (GLOSSA)