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Jennifer Vyvyan, Anthony Lewis - Handel: Semele (CD DOUBLE (LARGE CASE))

Jennifer Vyvyan, Anthony Lewis - Handel: Semele (CD DOUBLE (LARGE CASE))
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Jennifer Vyvyan, Anthony Lewis - Handel: Semele (CD DOUBLE (LARGE CASE))

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Jennifer Vyvyan
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Jennifer Vyvyan, Anthony Lewis - Handel: Semele (CD DOUBLE (LARGE CASE))

A pioneering Handel recording of the 1950s in a new digital remastering. The scholar and conductor Anthony Lewis was one of the early luminaries of the L'OiseauLyre label which became, over time, the early-music imprint of Decca. Drawing on his experience of conducting and staging Baroque opera both at the Barber Institute in Birmingham, and with the English Opera Group in London, he made recordings which have become milestones in the discography of Purcell and Handel.

Listeners who have grown up with period-instrument recordings may find themselves surprised and, like Gramophone's first reviewer, 'delighted' by the sure sense of Handelianstyle exhibited by both singers and players, guided as they are by the sure and lively hand of Lewis. Ultimately, though, this is Vyvyan's recording, from the haunting unease she brings to her opening 'O Jove, in pity teach me', with its wide, dissonant leaps, to Semele's sublime death scene, to which Vyvyan brings thatdirectness and emotional truth which was a hallmark of all that she sang.

The Eloquence release of Lewis directing Purcell's masque The Fairy Queen(482 7449) in 1957 was given an Editor's Choice in Gramophone(December 2017), where it was welcomed as 'a long overdue reissue': 'the first time his ground-breaking recording has been available in modern formats… The shifting moods ofcomedy, tragedy, charm and sense of spectacle are transparent throughout Lewis's congenial performance.'

The same qualities infuse Semele, recorded the previous year in both mono and stereo (reissued here in stereo). The cast is led by one of Britten's favouritesingers and a company member of the English Opera Group, Jennifer Vyvyan, whose pellucid soprano and exemplary technique were celebrated in 2017 by a series of Eloquence reissues including 'Songs of England' (482 5045), 'Mr Bach at Vauxhall Gardens' (482 5387) and scenes and arias by Haydn and Mozart (482 5049).

'Miss Vyvyan… warms up and it must be said that she negotiates the florid passages of the mirror aria ['Myself I shall adore'] with almost uncanny lack of labour, which sounds very nice. Her tone is as limpid and the line as steady as a "wonderboy" cathedral treble and all in all her performance grows in stature as it proceeds and in human warmth too.' Gramophone, August 1955

'Competent singing well stylized without importunity (and in places transcending competence), a direction in general spirited, and a union of effort in a lofty cause create a feeling of authority not to be questioned.' High Fidelity, May 1956

Tracklistings:

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL

Semele HWV 58

Edited by Julian Herbage

Jupiter…………………William Herbert

Cadmus ………………George Prangnell

Semele …………. …..Jennifer Vyvyan

Athamas................John Whitworth

Ino……………………..Helen Watts

Somnus……………….George James

Apollo………………….Robert Ellis

Juno…………………….Anna Pollak

Iris……………………….Brenda Griffith

Chorus of priests, augurs, loves, zephyrs, nymphs, swains and attendants

The Saint Anthony Singers

The New Symphony Orchestra of London

Thurston Dart, harpsichordcontinuo

Anthony Lewis

FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

More Information
More Information
Release Date 17 Aug 2018
Brand N/A
Artist Jennifer Vyvyan, Anthony Lewis
Title Handel: Semele
Format CD DOUBLE (LARGE CASE)
Packaging -
ISBN N/A
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