Handel’s Italian sojourn from 1707-1710 not only shaped his musical style and interests, but introduced him to one of the sopranos that was to play an important and recurring role in his music. Handel first met Margherita Durastanti when in Rome in 1707, with Durastanti performing both Armida Abandonata and O Qualis de Coelo Sonus.Their paths later crossed in London from 1720: Durastanti sung Handel’s Crudel Tiranno amor at a benefit concert in her honour, and she had roles in many successful Handel operas in the early 1720s. There seems to have been a ten year break in the working partnership, but Durastanti worked for Handel again in 1734.
“Handel and Margherita Durastanti – a musical marriage” explores these early Handel works for Durastanti, both sacred and secular, contrasting these with later London works in the operatic field. Interspersed are trio sonatas, including one of Handel’s earliest, a teenaged composition dating from 1699, and one of his more mature works, composed in London in the 1730s at the height of his operatic success.
The Brook Street Band
‘Vital and vivacious’ The Guardian
‘Masterly performances’ Gramophone Magazine
Nicki Kennedy (soprano)
Rachel Harris and Karin Björk (baroque violins)
Tatty Theo (baroque cello)
Carolyn Gibley (harpsichord)
O Qualis de coelo sonus HWV239
Trio Sonata Op.2 No. 2 (g minor)
Armida Abbandonata HWV105
Cara Speme (from Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV17)
Trio Sonata Op.5 No.4 (G Major)
Crudel Tiranno Amor HWV97