Delirio amoroso Cantata for soprano solo and instruments HWV 99

Composer: Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)
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Composer: Georg Frideric Handel (b. 1685 - d. 1759)

Performance date: 02/07/2013

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1685-1759

Duration: 00:35:25

Recording Engineer: Damian Chennells, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: 2vn, va, vc

Instrumentation Category:Small Mixed Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: S-solo, 2vn, va, vc, ob, rec, thb, hpd

Artists: Elbipolis Barockorchester Hamburg (Albrecht Kühner [violin], David Maria Gramse [violin], Lothar Haass [viola], Kate Hearne [cello & recorder], Andreas Arend [theorbo], Luise Haugk [oboe], Veronika Brass [harpsichord]) - [baroque ensemble]
Claire Booth - [soprano]

Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili  [1653-1730] was a leading figure in Roman
culture, composing operas and cantatas as well as providing libretti for such
composers as Scarlatti, Bononcini, and Melani. 
He held high Vatican offices, including
librarian of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and archivist of the Archivio
Segreto Vaticano. He was also a generous patron of the arts and became a friend
of Handel during the composer’s  Roman
sojourn from 1706 to 1710 and they maintained a lively correspondence in later
years.   He provided the texts for this
Cantata and for Handel’s first oratorio, Il trionfio del Tempo e del
, both works were performed in early 1707 at one of the
Cardinal’s palaces.  This was the era
when opera was banned in Rome
and cantatas were used to circumnavigate the papal law. The presence of dance
movements in the score suggests that some kind of staging may have been
undertaken in private. The score requires a chamber orchestra and virtuoso
soloists: oboe, violin, cello and recorder. It is surprising that this lovely work
is not performed more often in these days of the Handel revival, the music is
delectable but quite taxing to perform.

and ancient mythological themes were fashionable at the time and the Cardinal
creates a tale along the lines of the Orpheus legend but with a twist. The
soloist switches between narrator and the heroine Chloris herself.  After a charming little overture in D major
featuring the oboe, the plot is explained in a recitative: Thyrsis has died and
his beloved Chloris is distraught. She enunciates her grief in a lively
coloratura aria Let my thought fly up to heaven  with an exacting solo violin part.  In the ensuing recitative she decides to go
to Hades and rescue him. She thinks she sees his shade but it vanishes and she
appeals to him not to flee in a moving lament: 
I left the light for you. 
In the following recitative Chloris loses her cool and accuses Thyrsis
of mocking her; however, she then resolves to be kind and will take him from
Hades to the Elysian Fields. In her third aria she commands a breeze to steer
their ship there Abandon your dark sails.  An orchestral interlude follows for which
Handel borrowed four lines of a piece by Reinhard Keiser, followed by music
from his own opera “Almira”. To conclude Chloris sings a charming minuet with a
recorder obbligato:  Oh these
delightful and serene shores .
narrator then returns to round off the tale: perhaps all this had happened in
Chloris’ mind. A short, sprightly orchestral minuet closes proceedings.