Caporale: Cello Sonatas, Handel: Arias

Album cover art for upc 5028421956220
Catalog: BRI95622

Criscuolo, Renato; Tozzi, Lorenzo; Romabarocca Ensemble; Bonazzoli, Angelo

On the 260th anniversary of the composer’s death, this release celebrates Handel’s vocal works and particularly his writing for the cello. The set also sheds light on the lesser-known Andrea Caporale, one of the greatest cellists of the Baroque era and also a composer himself. In the 1730s, Handel and Caporale both lived and worked in London. While Caporale held celebrity status as the capital’s most sought-after cellist, Handel rubbed shoulders with the elite and composed for the royal court. This album takes a closer look at the time when they crossed paths. Caporale and Handel both moved in London’s musical circles and so it’s not surprising that they often worked together. A few years after his arrival in London, Caporale became part of Handel’s Opera Orchestra; he was the star name on the bill at fundraising concerts and performed in new works such as Deidamia and Alexander’s Feast, the latter containing two arias with obbligato cello which Handel had written specifically for him. Handel brought overall vision to the music and Caporale brought expert knowledge of his instrument. Their partnership came at an important turning point in the history of the cello: Prince Frederick of Wales had recently developed a keen interest in playing it, and this propelled the instrument, once regarded as inferior to the viol, into mainstream culture. The opening track comes from Handel’s opera Parnasso in Festa and in keeping with the trend, the movement features a decorative cello solo. The following tracks showcase Caporale’s creative output. The sonatas are characteristic of the late Baroque and various melody lines weave an intricate tapestry, through different keys and moods, before drawing to a unified close. Handel’s vocal works display similar traits and the set alternates between the two composers, revealing their similarities and how they appropriated musical trends of the era. Whereas most players of the era were prized for their virtuosity and technical prowess, Caporale was famous for his emotional playing.

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