Handel – Haym: Trio Sonatas
Ambronay AMY304. 55’19
Handel: Trio Sonatas, Op.2 Nos 5 & 7, arrangements from operas; Haym: Trio Sonatas, Op.1, Nos 1, 3 & 4.
What a delightful CD. Part of the ’eeemerging’ (Emerging European Ensembles) project led by the Ambronay cultural centre, it selects promising young musicians and helps them set up their careers, including the chance to make their first CD – like this one, from L’Aura Rilucente, a five-strong group formed in 2011 in Milan. Their fascinating programme includes three Trio Sonatas by Nicola Francesco Haym, usually only known (if at all) as the librettist for some of Handel’s operas (for example, Ottone, Flavio, Tamerlano, Rodelinda. Also known as a cellist, Haym’s composing activities have been almost entirely overlooked, so his inclusion on this CD is a real musical service.
Setting Haym against Handel on a CD is perhaps unfair, but Haym comes over rather well – simple, straightforward and very effective little movements given an excellent performance by L’Aura Rilucente (Heriberto Delgado Gutiérrez, Sara Bagnati (violins), Silvia Serrano Monesterolo (cello), Maximilian Ehrhardt (harp) & Jorge López-Escribano (organ, harpsichord). Just listen to track 3, (a tiny Adagio) an absolutely magical miniature to hear just what Haym was capable of – and how sensitive the playing of L’Aura Rilucente is. Their playing is impressive, both individually and in consort. Their inclusion of the harp as a continuo instruments is based on some evidence, although perhaps pushed a little too far. But it makes a very effective contribution to the overall sound.
Not surprisingly, the Handel works are more musically substantial, notably the two large-scale Trio Sonatas. The instrumental versions of opera extracts are reasonable fillings for the CD, albeit of little musicological interest.