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|Handel, Fisher, Kirkby|
Triumph of Time & Truth
Handel tinkered with this allegory throughout his career, producing various versions in Italian and English. The plot is a contest for the heart and mind of Beauty: Pleasure and Deceit encourage hedonism, arguing that "lif... more »
Handel tinkered with this allegory throughout his career, producing various versions in Italian and English. The plot is a contest for the heart and mind of Beauty: Pleasure and Deceit encourage hedonism, arguing that "life consists in the present hour." Time and Counsel advise Beauty to forswear worldly pleasures, which "will soon decay". (Guess who wins.) You'd expect the villains to get all the good tunes, but the musical interest here is evenly spread. Time and Counsel get lively and contemplative arias; in particular, Varcoe makes Time's "Loathsome urns" beguiling and chilling. Kirkby, playing a villain for once, is an all-too-convincing Deceit; Partridge as Pleasure, though not ideally youthful, makes some gorgeous sounds. Fisher is well cast as Beauty, and Darlow's direction is a triumph. --Matthew Westphal
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A Triumph for Handel!
J. Price | Canberra, ACT Australia | 12/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As noted in the editorial review, Handel tinkered with this oratorio a number of times, both in Italy and in England. The result is a not-your-standard-Handel as the two sides (physical vs spritual) each try to tempt Beauty to their cause. Time, Truth, Deceit and Pleasure are all given wondrous opportunities for sound and word painting, each in their own style, all being linked by the responses Beauty makes in return.The voices are uniformly superb, and the direction and tempi are excellent in keeping with the words being sung. Try this for a different style of Handelian vocal writing and you will not be disappointed."