Handel: Sosarme
Anthony Lewis
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4828582
Barcode
00028948285822
Format
2-CD
About

Alfred Deller’s only complete recording of a Handel opera.

First staged at the King’s Theatre in London in February 1732 and revived two years later, Sosarme was not heard again in full (if not entirely complete) until a BBC broadcast in January 1955, conducted by Anthony Lewis. Conductor and performers then made this recording a month later under the aegis of Louise Hanson-Dyer and her L’Oiseau-Lyre label.

‘Though not the best exemplar of Handel’s skills as a musical dramatist,’ according to the Handel scholar Anthony Hicks, ‘Sosarme consistently illustrates his greatness as a composer.’ The greatest riches of the score are found in the exquisite arias for Sosarme and Elmira and above all in their two duets, the first of which (‘Per le porte del tormento’ in Act 2) transcends its context with music of piercing radiance.

It was this recording of Sosarme that introduced many listeners to Alfred Deller (1912–1979) and to countertenors in general. Deller’s unmistakable instrument embodied, by its seeming effortlessness, the art that conceals art. When the harpsichordist and conductor, Gustav Leonhardt, was once asked whether he had ever allowed anyone to tell him how to perform anything, he replied, ‘only Deller’.

Deller was joined by a cast of British singers who made, with Lewis, several other recordings for L’Oiseau-Lyre that cast both well-known and unfamiliar music in a new and historically informed light. Several have been reissued by Eloquence: among them Semele (482 7449), The Fairy Queen (482 5063) and sacred works by Couperin (482 8542) and Mozart
(482 5041).

Track Listing / Artists

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL
Sosarme

Sosarme – Alfred Deller
Haliate – William Herbert
Erenice – Nancy Evans
Elmira – Margaret Ritchie
Argone – John Kentish
Melo – Helen Watts
Altomaro – Ian Wallace
St. Anthony Singers
The Saint Cecilia Orchestra
Terence Weil, cello
Thurston Dart, harpsichord (harpsichord by Thomas Goff)
Anthony Lewis

FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

Track previews
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Recit: Correte pur a fiumi amare lacrime nel commune pe
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Aria: Vorrei, nè pur saprei che la speme nel mio core d
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Altomoro, si renda libero lo steccato
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Aria: Tiene Giove in mano il folgore gl'empi sol per fu
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Recit: Ah Padre! eccoti al piede un figlio supplicante
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Aria: Tu caro, caro sei il dolce mio tesoro, e sai perc
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Chorus: Dopo l'ire sì funeste dell'amore splenda
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Aria: Vola l'augello del caro nido
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Sinfonia
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Recit: Mi segue la Regina, aiuto, o frodi!
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Aria: S'io cadrò per tuo consiglio resti il figlio
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Melo, dov'e'l tuo zelo?
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Aria: Cuor di madre e cuor di moglie, chi t'invola
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Per la segreta porta del real giardino
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act III: Aria: M'opporrò da generoso all'indegna orrida
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Duetto: Per le porte del tormento
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Recit: Signor, tuo regio sangue
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Aria: Alle sfere della gloria alza i vanni un nobil cor
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: La pace sdegnerai?
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Aria: Vado, vado al campo a combatter col pianto
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Recit: Mio sposo
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Aria: in mille dolci modi al sen ti stringerò
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Parmi ch'un dolce raggio
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Duetto: Se m'ascolti. E udir potrei?
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Recit: Padre, Signor
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Aria: Se discordia ci disciolse pace
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: E cosi tu disprezzi la tua propria grandezza?
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Aria: So ch'il Ciel ben spesso gode
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Recit: Quanto piu melo ha sdegno
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Aria: Sento il cor che lieto gode
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Con sì bella ferita
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Aria: Fra l'ombre e gl'orrori
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Recit: Come più dell'usato, o Prence
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Aria: Sì, sì, minaccia, e vinta
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Recit: Non più contese
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Aria: La turba adultrice
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Recit: Amici, troppo oscuro torpe il valor nascosto
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Aria: Dite pace, e fulminate crudi Ciel!
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Aria: Padre, germano, e sposo
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act II: Ebben dall’alta torre
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Sinfonia
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Recit: Di mio padre al furore
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Aria: Rendi'l sereno al ciglio
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Recit: Giusti numi
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Aria: Forte inciampo al suo furore pria che giunga
Sosarme, HWV 30, Act I: Recit: Melo, mio prence, soffri ch'io nipote
Recording information

Recordings: London, UK, February 1955
Original L’Oiseau-Lyre LP Release: OL50091/3
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer

Reviews

‘Some of the finest Handel singing and playing on disc … Listen, for instance, to Anthony Lewis’s handling of the Allegro of the overture for an ideal blend of impetus and inner power, to Margaret Ritchie’s ‘Rendi’l ciglio’ for exemplary control and expression, to Alfred Deller’s ‘In mille dolci modi’ for exquisite ravishment. And of course, to that famous rendering of the duet ‘Per le porte del tormento’ in which the talents of all three combine in a perfect realization of its unearthly serenity.’ The Musical Times, July 1972

Sosarme should cause a good deal of excitement … L’Oiseau-Lyre has assembled a brilliant cast.’ New York Times