Friday, 11 November 2016

Music for Winter Evenings

In Northern Europe, the evenings are dark and long. One needs something warming and cheering, which is why I have been listening to a new CD of Joyce DiDonato singing fifteen assorted arias from 17th and 18th century works (around half by Handel or Purcell). DiDonato is an intelligent and cultured singer. Like all sopranos, she can screech a bit at times, but not often during the 79 minutes of this disc. Her rendition of Purcell's “When I am laid” is moving, as is Handel's “Lascia ch'io pianga”. Around half the arias are in Italian, half in English. So In War and Peace (CD title) joins my shelf of much-favoured DiDonato recitals. The recording is good (Warner label). Il Pomo d'Oro provides the expert instrumental background. Handel's Augelletti, che cantate (from Rinaldo) comes off wonderfully. After the music was finished, I retired to a meal of lamb shank braised for over three hours in onions, carrots, herbs, parsnips, mushrooms, and various additions. Good winter evening food and music.

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