Handel Goes Wild CD review – baroque collides with jazz and world

Rial/Sabadus/L’Arpeggiata/Pluhar
(Erato)

I wouldn’t say wild exactly, but Handel does go a bit off-road on this polished jam session from L’Arpeggiata, in which the ensemble’s baroque players collide with a handful of jazz and world musicians, all led from the theorbo by Christina Pluhar. It’s sometimes hard to know who is winning – and, for anyone who doesn’t hate this disc immediately, that will be part of the appeal. A sinfonia from the opera Alcina, starts off like a jazz number, the strings revealing its “true” origins only a couple of minutes in; a louche clarinet solo over busy baroque violins and vaguely Latin percussion introduces Venti Turbini, sung with full operatic flair by countertenor Valer Sabadus. Not everything is so well judged, and there’s too much of the self-conscious opera-singer-relaxing vocal style; but soprano Nuria Rial singing O Sleep, Why Dost Thou Leave Me? over tinkly music-box piano and soft plucked bass works a treat.

Contributor

Erica Jeal

The GuardianTramp

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