Beauty Of The Baroque / de Niese


de Niese · The English Concert · Bicket
Int. Release 06 Jun. 2011
1 CD / Download
Seductive Soprano Danielle de Niese Sings the
Most Beautiful Baroque Vocal Music

Track List

John Dowland (1562 - 1626)
George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)
Serse, HWV 40

Act 1


Samson, HWV 57

Act 3

Henry Purcell (1659 - 1695)
Dido and Aeneas, Z. 626

Act 3

George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)
Acis and Galatea, HWV 49

Arr.Mozart. Performed in English

Danielle de Niese, The English Concert, Harry Bicket

Claudio Monteverdi (1567 - 1643)
L'incoronazione di Poppea, SV 308

Act 3


Danielle de Niese, Andreas Scholl, The English Concert, Harry Bicket

Danielle de Niese, The English Concert, Harry Bicket

George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)
Rodelinda, HWV 19

Act 2


Danielle de Niese, Andreas Scholl, The English Concert, Harry Bicket

The Triumph Of Time And Truth, HWV71

Danielle de Niese, The English Concert, Harry Bicket

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 - 1736)
Stabat Mater


Danielle de Niese, Andreas Scholl, The English Concert, Harry Bicket

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, Cantata BWV 202 - "Wedding Cantata"

"Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd" Cantata, BWV 208

Danielle de Niese, The English Concert, Harry Bicket

Total Playing Time 56:41

It's an intriguing and enjoyable programme . . . The English Concert provides suitable support throughout, from solo theorbo on Dowland's "What if I never speed?" to the trio of harpsichord, theorbo and viola da gamba with her delightful duet with counter-tenor Andreas Scholl on Monteverdi's "Pur ti miro", and the ensemble playing elsewhere.

This is a charming recital that shows this popular soprano at her best . . . she has plenty of vivacity and fresh-toned sweetness. "Guardian Angels", from Handel's "The Triumph of Time and Truth", is a highlight: a little-known but beautiful aria, sung here with poise and allure.

De Niese's voice is not massive but it is clear and shiny. She sings as if her heart is in it. She is direct and affecting in melancholy songs by the Elizabethan John Dowland as well as Dido's lament from Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas". Countertenor Andreas Scholl joins her in Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater", and Handel's "Guardian Angels, oh, protect me" also tugs at the heart, and I love the serene, unhurried "Sheep May Safely Graze". De Niese has an unbridled way of throwing herself into the joyous, bouncy "Sich üben im Lieben" from Bach's "Wedding Cantata". The English Concert follows her with alert precision.

The sense of drama that makes Danielle de Niese's performances so engaging is [an asset] . . . She's a wonderfully spirited singer . . . Led by Harry Bicket with fine support from the English Concert, de Niese gives a poignant performance of Purcell's "Dido's Lament," with lyrical phrasing and plangent tone. She also shines in the beseeching "Guardian angels, oh protect me" by Handel. Her enthusiasm charms in Bach's "Sich üben im Lieben" and suits Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim," in which she displays impressive coloratura and stamina. She also gives a seductive rendition of his "What if I never speed."

. . . [Danielle de Niese] here wraps her gleaming voice around a choice selection of Baroque arias . . . de Niese sings with silvery agility and expressive urgency. She teams seamlessly with countertenor Andreas Scholl, conductor Harry Bicket and the period-instrument ensemble the English Concert.

Suffused with more personality and verve than five other Baroque recitals combined, Danielle de Niese's "Beauty of the Baroque" comes as a revelation -- not so much for its pyrotechnics, but rather for the way in which the soprano newly illumines familiar as well as less-known Baroque classics . . . To the marvelously colored period-instrument sounds of The English Concert under Harry Bicket, de Niese puts the Baroque equivalent of a jazz singer's smile on her voice . . . In de Niese's throat and breast, Dowland's young loves are almost panting with excitement . . . A similarly refreshing approach comes in Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim" . . . blessed with a good trill and coloratura facility, de Niese gives us such ear-opening variations in the recapitulation as to make the aria sound new . . . In her three duets with the marvelous Andreas Scholl, de Niese's effusive personality provides a wonderful contrast to the countertenor's simpler, purer expression . . . This performance is as distinguished by The English Concert's gorgeous sounds as it is by the lovely blend of these two contrasting artists' voices and energies . . . a performance of heartfelt depth and grace . . . [an] unfailingly lovely CD . . .

This is a surprising performance . . . [these early selections] find the soprano at her most alluring . . . Ornaments are subtle . . . Where she truly excels is in the more gentle, persuasive melodies -- often insinuating and seductive -- of Dowland's romantic/erotic songs and the music of Monteverdi . . . She exploits opportunities for rubato and expansion, stretching and coloring the long vowels of the English composer's "Come again: sweet love doth now invite" and spicing its consonants in a manner that is almost suggestive . . . she manages to blend warmly with the excellent Andreas Scholl . . . What most marks de Niese's singing throughout this program is a fresh, personal quality . . . the countertenor excels at dark mourning, with his depressed pitch on droning phrase . . . The English Concert under the expert Harry Bicket provides brilliant, flexible accompaniment. There is an especially infectious energy in the pacing and phrasing of one of the Bach numbers . . . delightful oboe playing by Katharina Spreckelsen.

. . . a stunningly beautiful [voice] . . . She is also a superb interpreter . . . [in "When I am laid in earth"] her depth of feeling in this aria is simply astounding . . . [Harry Bicket and his English Concert are] surely one of the finest Baroque conductors and interpreters of our days. They are consistently responsive to de Niese's moods and variants . . . This is artistry of the very highest order . . . Also of a very high order is the participation of Andreas Scholl, without question the possessor of the most beautiful countertenor voice in the world . . . [a] heart-rendering duet of Rodelinda and Bertarido from Handel's opera and Pergolesi's "Stabat mater dolorosa", and in each encounter they are on a very high level . . . [de Niese's] performance of the "Wedding" Cantata aria by Bach is simply terrific . . . I'd go so far as to predict that this album will become a classic . . .

[De Nieses Stimme zeigt sich] mit Hits wie Händels hymnischem "Ombra mai fu" von der geschmeidigen Seite.

Sie selbst hat Arien von Dowland, Händel, Monteverdi und Bach ausgewählt, die sie mit großer gestalterischer Phantasie und schillernder Farbenvielfalt bewältigt . . . Andreas Scholl steuert Stimmschönheit und große Innigkeit beim ersten Duett aus Pergolesis Stabat Mater bei.

. . . ["Ombra mai fu" ¿ das Larghetto] wird von der Sopranistin de Niese in der Altfassung vorgetragen. Und schlicht. Ohne das übliche Irrlichtern in vokalen Melismen. Bravo . . . [Stabat Mater (Pergolesi)] hier mit dem Countertenor Andreas Scholl, eine reizvolle und harmonische Kombination, die sich auch in "Pur ti miro" aus Monteverdis "L'incoronazione di Poppea" und "Io t'abbraccio" aus Händels "Rodelinda" bewährt . . . The English Concert begleitet die Sängerin . . . inspiriert, den Liederreigen hört man sich auch deshalb gerne an. Danielle de Niese muss man als Barock-Interpretin ja nun nicht speziell empfehlen, als solche hat sie sich fraglos durchgesetzt.

. . . [kundig begleitet von Harry Bicket und The English Concert] gewinnt sie den Hörer durch Schönheit des Timbres, Feinfühligkeit und Souveränität in den Koloraturen. Etwa in "Let the bright Seraphim" aus Händels "Samson", wo sie . . . in den überzeugend absolvierten Embellishments davor das Verzierungspotential überzeugend ausschöpft. In der doch ziemlich breiten Palette von Expressionsschattierungen, die sie in diesem Album bietet, besticht sie sowohl durch Virtuosität als auch durch zarte, innige Innigkeit wie in Didos Lamento "When I am laid in earth".

. . . [Danielle de Niese hat] keine Berührungsängste und traut sich, natürlich und authentisch ihren persönlichen Zugang zu den einzelnen Stücken zu vermitteln. The English Concert unter der Leitung von Harry Bicket ist dabei ausdrucksstarkes und markant artikulierendes Begleitorgan . . . Danielle de Niese setzt im Dienste der inhaltlichen Interpretation sowohl vibratofreie Stimmführung wie fein vibrierendes Tremolo ein, ihr warm mädchenhafter Sopran fließt leicht, aber zwitschert nicht, Lautmalereien gelingen sinnlich verführerisch und die Koloraturen sind unaufgeregt eingebunden in eine innere Ariendramaturgie . . . Auch das sehnende Drängen in den Dowlands "Come again, sweet love doth now invite" und "What if I never speed" ist prickelndes Versprechen, die Trauer in Purcells "Thy hand, Belinda -- When I am laid in earth" wird zum ersterbenden Lamento ohne Pathos, die "Guardian angels" von Händel schreiten ewig schlank majestätisch in unerschütterlicher Ruhe . . . [de Niese & Scholl]: Die beiden Sänger harmonieren miteinander, aber stellen vor allem Standpunkte klar, die umeinander kreisen, sich reiben, gemeinsam klingen, um dann wieder für sich zu stehen -- eine attraktive Kombination mit eigenen Charakteren . . . ein persönlichkeitsstarkes Album . . . dass ein abwechslungsreiches Musikporträt zeichnet und Spaß macht.

On retiendra surtout deux perles: le papillonnant "Quel sguardo sdegnosetto" de Monteverdi, et le "Come again" de Dowiand; chanté à pleine voix, improbable et pourtant parfait d'accents vifs et d'abandons voluptueux ("I die", et nous avec) . . . glanez ces deux délices.